Sokhary Chau, a Cambodian refugee who survived the Khmer Rouge’s genocide, has become the Mayor of Lowell, making him the first Cambodian-American mayor in the United States. Currently serving as a city councilor in Lowell, he was unanimously picked by his council peers to assume the top post on January 3, 2021. He also became the city’s first Asian American mayor.

“As a proud Cambodian American, I am standing on the shoulders of many immigrants who came before me to build this city,” Chau said at his inauguration.

For more than 100 years, IINE has welcomed newcomers to Lowell through refugee resettlement, adult education, immigration services and beyond.

“We are so inspired to see a refugee assume the city’s top post,” says Jeff Thielman, IINE’s CEO, “It speaks to how the investment in refugees and immigrants leads to a more vibrant, diverse, and forward-thinking community. We look forward to working with the new Mayor and welcoming newcomers to Lowell.”