Board of Directors

David Chang

Born in Shanghai and educated in Tokyo, David graduated from Occidental College and worked in the Asian divisions of Deutsche Bank and Chemical Bank. He is Managing Director of CCL Holdings (USA) Ltd. and Chairman & Chief Executive Officer of Vintage Communities, Inc., and makes his home in Irvine, California.

David and his family financed the construction of a building that houses the CBHEP program and Microbiology Lab at Angkor Hospital for Children.

Alex Chanthasoto

Alex is a senior software developer with over 20 years of experience in programming, system administration and project management. After graduating with a degree in computer science and mathematics and a master’s degree in computer science, Alex gained exposure to various roles and technical expertise in different industries, including his current position as a Production Support Engineer at the New York City Department of Buildings.

Born in Laos, Alex immigrated to the United States at the age of 17. He and his wife, Nieves, and their two daughters actively support Friends. They have traveled around the Northeast to visit Lao-American communities and to discuss the benefits of having a better health care system through Lao Friends Hospital for Children in Luang Prabang.

Nerou Cheng, C.P.A.

Born in Cambodia, Nerou earned a BSBA from Georgetown University, an MBA from Ball State University, and his CPA Certificate from Pace University. He established N. Cheng LLP in New York City in 1989, which has grown to a 110-person accounting and consulting firm. Nerou is an active board member of Friends of Khmer Culture, another NGO doing work in Cambodia.

Nerou established Friends of Friends, Cambodian-American support groups, in New York/ New Jersey, Philadelphia, Washington and New England.

Kenro Izu, Founder and Honorary President

After studying at Nihon University, Kenro moved to New York where he established his photography studio in 1974. He continues to photograph still life and sacred stone monuments around the world. He founded Friends Without A Border to build the Angkor Hospital for Children, which opened its doors in 1999. He has inspired countless people by his example of using the arts to achieve humanitarian goals.

As founder and honorary president, Kenro maintains his active leadership by making trips to Cambodia and Laos several times a year. He also serves on the Board of Friends Japan and AHC Inc.

Stephen Joester

Steve is a New York-based British photographer who has shot award-winning commercial campaigns for many of the world’s leading brands. His love of travel led to a decade of travel-photography for Corbis and Getty. Steve is also one of England’s leading rock-music photographers. His images of the Rolling Stones, Bob Marley, Neil Young, and many other iconic musicians are the subject of his multimedia art. Steve’s work has been exhibited extensively in the U.S.

In 2007, Steve and his wife started The Shemesh Joester Foundation with the goal of supporting children’s causes.

Philippe Lajaunie

Philippe was born and raised in Bordeaux, France. Inspired by an 18-month trip around North America and Central America, Philip decided to relocate to this side of the Atlantic in 1982. Over the following decades, Philippe opened 20 restaurants in several states, and has been involved in real estate development and media ventures. His most recent enterprise is an all-American sourced and produced premium bottled water brand, American Summits.

In 1998, while launching a restaurant in Tokyo, a side trip to Siem Reap, Cambodia, led Philippe to the discovery of the Angkor Hospital for Children. This progressively led to his involvement with Friends Without A Border. As a French-American, Philippe feels a deep bond with humanitarian efforts in Indochina.

Vanhlee Lattana

Vanhlee was born and raised in a small Laotian village, where good quality health care and education is not easy to access, She has always been interested in the health and education sectors. She earned a master’s degree in public health from the University of Glasgow under a Chevening Scholarship and a master’s in international development from Ohio University through a Fulbright Scholarship. Vanhlee is currently the Director of Franks Family Foundation, a London-based philanthropy focused on improving health and education in Southeast Asia. Prior to joining the Franks Family Foundation, she worked as Programme Secretariat Manager at Scaling Up Nutrition-Civil Society Alliance (SUN CSA). She has worked with many organizations throughout Southeast Asia, including Plan International, Population Services International, French Red Cross and Oxfam.

Vanhlee became a FWAB board member in 2019.

Michael Malcolm

Michael Malcolm studied Sanskrit and Tibetan at the University of California at Berkeley where he received a degree in Religious Studies. His interests in Buddhism and Buddhist art led him to travel to Cambodia, Laos and India. In New York, Michael worked with Asian art gallerist Doris Wiener and researched and wrote attributions of Indian miniature paintings, as well as stone and bronze sculpture from India and Southeast Asia and thangkas from Tibet. Later, Michael spent several years as director of Lowinsky Gallery in SoHo. Currently he is a private dealer handling fine art photographs.

With his wife, Carrie, and children, Ian and Alessandra (a native Khmer), Michael continues to travel extensively throughout Asia.


Denis Martin

Denis is retired after working more than 25 years in Internet-related IT services.  He is a graduate of Clark University and New York University’s Polytechnic School of Engineering.  He has traveled through many parts of Asia and makes his home in Rhode Island.  In addition to supporting Friends, he is very active with The Lake Clinic in Cambodia and as a state representative for the Fresh Air Fund in New York City.

Susan Rafte

Susan is a community volunteer.  She is a metastatic breast cancer survivor and focuses on helping in the cancer community.  She was the survivor/founder of Pink Ribbons Project, a nonprofit organization serving the Houston community for over 20 years.  As a patient advocate, she is involved with the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Baylor College of Medicine, and serves on several national breast cancer committees.  She provides peer-to-peer support to cancer survivors and is a part of Healing Circles Texas, a new step in her journey.  Susan lives in Houston, Texas, is married to Alan and enjoys visiting her daughter Marika who lives and works in New York City.

Michael Stern

A graduate of Dartmouth College, Amos Tuck School of Business and NYU Law School, Michael was an investment banker and served as President of Parfums Stern. In 1990 he founded The Big Wood Foundation. He currently serves on the Board of Friends Without a Border, Team Rubicon and Excellence in Community Schools.


Steven Williamson, Chair

Steve recently retired from his positions as the chief legal officer and corporate secretary for the Bessemer Trust companies and Bessemer Securities LLC. Prior to joining Bessemer in 1996, Steve was a partner in the law firm of Chadbourne & Parke in New York City. While at Chadbourne, he lived and worked in the United Arab Emirates in the early 1980s, and his practice extended to corporate and financing transactions across multiple industries. Steve received an undergraduate degree from Stanford University and a law degree from Yale Law School.

Steve and his wife Laura frequently traveled to Southeast Asia and visited Angkor Hospital for Children in 2005 during a visit to Siem Reap.  He has been a contributor to FWAB for many years and joined the Board in 2016. He became chair of the board in September 2019.

Amy Yang

Amy grew up in St. Louis and studied at Northwestern University, where she received a dual degree in art history and economics.  She currently works for Citi as a director in the Not-for-Profit Health Care Group, which provides strategic advice and capital markets services for a range of not-for-profit health systems, hospitals and health plan providers throughout the United States.  As the daughter of an E.R. physician and the sister of a pediatric surgeon, Amy has a deep appreciation for the medical field and a longstanding desire to assist health care providers in their missions to care for those in need.

Amy journeyed to Cambodia and Laos during her honeymoon and was profoundly struck by the generosity and hospitality of the people in both countries. The desire to help the communities in Cambodia and Laos led to her joining the board of Friends Without a Border in 2016.  Amy and her husband John currently reside in San Francisco and are looking forward to assisting in growing the FWAB network on the West Coast.