Faculty & Staff SpotlightLee Pao Xiong

Lee Pao Xiong

Director of the Center for Hmong Studies
Instructor of Asian Studies

Lee Pao Xiong is currently the founding Director of the Center for Hmong Studies at Concordia University, St. Paul and professor of American Government/Political Science and Hmong Studies.

Throughout his distinguished career, Xiong served as the Director of Housing Policy and Development for the City of Minneapolis, President and CEO of The Urban Coalition, Executive Director of the State Council on Asian-Pacific Minnesotan, Hmong American Partnership and the Hmong Youth Association of Minnesota. Previously, he has also served on the staff of Minnesota State Senator Joe Bertram and United States Senator Carl Levin of Michigan in Washington, DC.

From 1997 to 2003, Lee Pao represented the City of St. Paul, Lauderdale and Falcon Heights on the Metropolitan Council, a regional planning agency in Minnesota, as an appointee of Minnesota Governor Jesses Ventura. As a Councilmember, he chaired the Livable Committee, which approves comprehensive plans for over 170 cities, provides funding for affordable housing as well as Section 8 housing for low-income communities. He also co-chaired the Central Corridor Coordinating Committees, which oversaw the planning process for the light-rail line that is currently being built on University Avenue, connecting Minneapolis and St. Paul.

In 2000, President William Jefferson Clinton appointed Lee Pao Xiong to serve on the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders to advise the president and federal agencies on issues relating to the 10 plus million Asian Americans in the United States, making him the first Hmong presidential appointee in the nation.

Lee Pao has won numerous awards for his service to the community. He is a co-founder of the Hmong Resource Fair, the Asian Festival (now Dragon Boat Festival in St. Paul), Hmong Academy (now Hmong College Prep Academy), Hmong Community School of Excellence, and the Asian Development Corporation (now Asian Economic Development Association).  Currently, he serves on the board of the Friends of the St. Paul Public Library, the Sunrise Community Bank Advisory Board and Change Inc.   He is widely sought after as a speaker and trainer by many educational institutions, community organizations, as well as family groups to speak about Hmong history, culture, and society as well as on leadership and board governance related topics.


  • M.A., Public Administration, Hamline University (1997)
  • B.S., Political Science University of Minnesota (1989)