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Vietnam war survivor to speak in Sudbury Sept. 24

Kim Phuc Phan Thi was immortilized at the age of nine in a Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph
Kim Phuc Phan Thi.

Kim Phuc Phan Thi is known around the world as “The Girl in the Picture.” 

In 1972, at the age of nine, she was immortalized in a Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph that shows her screaming and running naked down a road in Trang Bang, Vietnam, after having her clothing burned off by napalm.

Phan Thi is set to speak in Sudbury at 11:15 a.m. Sept. 24 as part of the Rotary District 7010 Conference 2022, which takes place at the Holiday Inn Sept. 24-25.

A living symbol of the atrocity of war, Phan Thi is the founder of The KIM Foundation International, a non-profit dedicated to providing funds to support the work of international organizations that provide free medical assistance to children who are victims of war and terrorism.

Phan Thi has suffered many hardships since that day in 1972, including several years of painful burn therapy, but her spirit has always remained strong. Inspired by the physicians who helped her survive, she decided to become a doctor, but her pre-medical studies in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) were interrupted in 1982 when the Vietnamese government removed her from school to act as a “national symbol of the war.” 

Four years later, the government permitted her to continue her studies in Cuba, but health issues put an end to her plans to become a doctor.

It was in Cuba that Phan Thi met her husband, Toan. They married on Sept. 11, 1992. While on the way back to Havana after their honeymoon in Moscow, the couple defected to Canada during a one-hour layover in Newfoundland, Canada. 

They now live near Toronto, and Mrs. Phan Thi travels the world as a UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) Goodwill Ambassador for the Culture of Peace.

Phan Thi has received seven honorary doctorate degrees from universities in Canada, Australia, the United States, and Mexico for her efforts to help children and end world conflict.

She is an Honorary Member of Kingston Rotary, an Honorary Member of St. Albert Rotary, a Member of the Advisory Board for the Wheelchair Foundation, an Honorary Member of the Canadian Commission for UNESCO, a Member of the Advisory Board of Free Children’s Foundation in Canada, and the World Children’s Center in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. 

Phan Thi is also a recipient of the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal, the 2004 “Order of Ontario,” as well as the International Peace Prize presented in Dresden Germany, February 2019.

She is the author of Fire Road, her personal memoir, which has been translated into 11 languages.

If you’d like to attend Phan Thi’s presentation, tickets are available at the door for $20 each (cash only). There is limited seating. More information is available online at