2018 Youth Leadership Intensive
Kavad Oral History Project


In the "kavad," a three-dimensional form of traditional Indian storytelling, a box unfolds to reveal the secrets of a particular story. Kundiman employs "kavad" as a central metaphor as we partner across communities and generations of Asian Americans in the telling of a collective Asian American story. The Kavad program is of particular significance in that it not only employs ethnological modes of preserving Asian American history but also helps to re-create and re-invigorate our communities through creative work and community dialogue. Through Kavad, Kundiman brings forward the writer as witness, historian, and social activist.

In our Inaugural Youth Leadership Intensive, we undertook a special Kavad with the students by working toward an oral history project to uncover individual and community truths through a series of one-on-one interviews. They spoke to each other about identity, family, and heritage, and reflected on what this process helped them learn about each other, as well as what they learned about themselves. These projects emphasize community and connection, and more importantly they showcase a rare assemblage of young Asian American voices in all of their brilliance and diversity. 

reflections and interview transcripts

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Check out the recap of 2018's Youth Leadership Intensive! More info on the program here.