Pakou Hang is the executive director of the Hmong American Farmers Association, which is based in the Twin Cities. Previously, she was the deputy vice president of field operations for the Children's Defense Fund in Washington, DC, where she was responsible for developing and implementing strategies and tactics to build a national grassroots movement for children.
Born in the Ban Vinai Refugee Camp in Thailand but now naturalized as an American citizen, Pakou is a member of the Hmong community. Pakou received her master's in political science in 2008 from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. She completed her BA in political science at Yale University in 1999.
Pakou spent two years in Boston as a financial analyst with KLD Research and Analytics, a firm advising socially responsible investments. Active in politics, Pakou served as a deputy political director to Senator Paul Wellstone and campaign manager in the election of Mee Moua to the Minnesota legislature. She has also been active in the nonprofit civic organization Progressive Minnesota and in the University-based Jane Addams School for Democracy and its efforts to engage immigrants in local and state issues important to them.
In 2003, she received the Hubert H. Humphrey Public Leadership Award from the University of Minnesota. At University of Minnesota and afterwards, she plans to move between formal study of political strategy and the active engagement of the immigrant population.