Sophal Ear, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Diplomacy & World Affairs, Occidental College
Tuesday, March 27, 2018
O'Leary Library 222
61 Wilder Street
Lowell, MA 01854
In 1992, the United Nations organized its then biggest and most expensive peacekeeping mission ever when it launched the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC). Elections took place under UN supervision in 1993, but the outcome—in which the Royalists won the most votes—was ignored with a “no winners, no losers” compromise that ignored the will of the electorate. Far from democratic consolidation, Cambodian democracy has since suffered a precipitous decline in recent years, culminating in the dissolution of the main opposition party in 2017, 25 years after UNTAC. Meanwhile, economic growth has been impressive, averaging seven percent per year for over a decade but under high levels of corruption and without rule of law. What lessons can the United Nations learn from Cambodia’s experience? With China-Cambodia relations stronger than ever, what does it mean for the future international assistance and for Cambodian democracy in particular?
Sophal Ear, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Diplomacy & World Affairs at Occidental College in Los Angeles where he teaches international political economy, international development, international security, and Asian security. Previously, he taught at the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School and the Maxwell School of Syracuse University. He has consulted for the World Bank, was Assistant Representative for UNDP in East Timor, and served as Advisor to Cambodia's first private equity fund Leopard Capital. He is the author of Aid Dependence in Cambodia: How Foreign Assistance Undermines Democracy (Columbia University Press) and co-author of The Hungry Dragon: How China’s Resources Quest is Reshaping the World (Routledge). A graduate of Princeton and Berkeley, he moved to the United States from France as a Cambodian refugee at the age of 10.
This event is hosted by the UMass Lowell Political Science Department, the UMass Lowell Center for Asian American Studies, and the Dean's Office of the College of Fine Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences at UMass Lowell.