Kim Phuc (Phan Thị Kim Phc)

UNESCO Peace Ambassador and Author of Fire Road: The Napalm Girl’s Journey Through the Horrors of War to Faith, Forgiveness, and Peace

Teachers: Visit the free MY HERO Kim Phuc Lesson Plan for this film program. Includes discussion guide and learning outcome.

In 1972, when Kim Phuc was 9 years old, photographer Nick Ut took a famous photo of her running naked and burned from a Napalm attack during the Vietnam War. 

The photo shocked the world, depicting the horrors of war. Richard Nixon initially wondered if the photo was a fake because it would increase anti-war sentiment in the public. Ut won a Pulitzer Prize for the photo.

For Kim Phuc, it was difficult to live with the famous photo, the shame of being photographed naked, her feelings of disfigurement from the Napalm burns and the fact that so many had died during the war, including family. She suffered from depression and sucidial thoughts.

Later, as an adult, she was able to defect from Vietnam. She and her husband were granted asylum in Canada and became Canadian citizens. She overcame her personal struggles and turned them into something positive by working with UNESCO as a peace activist. In 1997, she also established the Kim Phúc Foundation for child victims of war. It is now known as the The KIM Foundation International.

In 2017, she wrote the book Fire Road: The Napalm Girl’s Journey Through the Horrors of War to Faith, Forgiveness, and Peace.

Most recently, in February 2019, she was awarded the Dresden Peace Prize. 

Kim told MY HERO in 2022, "I believe a hero is brave and does the right thing no matter the consequences. A hero thinks right, does right, makes great sacrifices, and stays humble."


The Sunrise Storyteller (2018) directed by Kasha Slavner

This excerpt from the short film "The Sunrise Storyteller" features Kim Phúc.

The film was directed by student filmmaker Kasha Slavner and went on to win the 2018 MY HERO International Film Festival Ron Kovic Peace Prize and Women Transforming Media Student Award.

Kim Phuc - excerpt from The Sunrise Storyteller

Kasha Slavner
Young filmmaker Kasha Slavner interviews Unesco Goodwill Ambassador Phan Thi Kim Phuc, who survived a napalm bomb when she was a 9-year-old during the Vietnam War.

From the MY HERO Library

Fire Road: The Napalm Girl’s Journey through the Horrors of War to Faith, Forgiveness, and Peace

By: Kim Phuc Phan Thi (Author), Ashley Wiersma (Contributor)

In this stunning first-hand account of struggling to find answers in a world that only seemed to bring anguish, Kim ultimately discovers strength in someone who had suffered himself, transforming her tragedy into an unshakable faith.

Related Pages | Art About the Vietnam War

Ron Kovic is a peace activist and Vietnam War veteran whose life was made into a film by Oliver Stone: Born on the 4th of July. Every year Ron awards the Ron Kovic Peace Prize at the MY HERO International Film Festival. In 2018, he awarded the prize to student director Kasha Slavner for an excerpt from her short "The Sunrise Storyteller," which features Kim Phúc.

Vietnam War Veteran Ron Kovic

By: Robert Shetterly

Ron Kovic, author, activist and peacemaker is painted by Robert Shetterly for Americans Who Tell the with Ron's own words indicting war.

Look To The Sky

By: Ron Kovic

Ron Kovic's touching representation of a life-affirming message, inspired by his peace activism.

Portrait of Peace Activist William Sloane Coffin

By: Robert Shetterly

As part of the Americans Who Tell The Truth project, Robert Shetterly has painted Coffin, clergyman and anti-war activist.

Frances Crowe

By: Robert Shetterly
Frances Crowe (born March 15, 1919) is an American peace activist and pacifist from the Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts.

Related Pages | Stories About the Vietnam War

Maya Lin

By: Angela from San Diego
Maya Lin created the winning design for Washington, D.C.'s Vietnam War Memorial while still an undergraduate at Yale University.

Ron Kovic: A Hero to the Voice of Peace

By: Sophia DelaRosa

Ron Kovic is a Vietnam War veteran who became a leading anti-war activist and wrote the award-winning film "Born on the Fourth of July."

Le Ly Hayslip

By: Claudia Hudson

Le Ly Hayslip is a humanitarian, memoirist, and peacemaker from Vietnam.


Discover a New Hero 365 Days a Year

Organizer created on 3/27/2019 4:46:58 PM by Xenia Shin

Last edited 3/30/2022 1:34:10 PM by Abigail Richardson