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News & Events


Below you'll find information regarding our most recent and upcoming events. To learn more please contact the Center for Asian American Studies.

If you are looking for event information that has already past, please consult our Past Events webpage.

Cambodia 25 Years Later: The UN, Democracy, and the Future of International Assistance

Sophal Ear seated

Sophal Ear, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Diplomacy & World Affairs, Occidental College

Tuesday, March 27, 2018
3:30 p.m.
UMass Lowell
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.

2018 Asian American Cultures Festival

The Angkor Dance Troupe is excited to announce the showcase of Preah Thoung Neang Neak: Origin of Cambodian Wedding. Preah Thoung Neang Neak is a tale that shares the union of an Indian Prince (Preah Thoung) and the Naga Princess (Neang Neak), the earliest ancestors of the Khmer people, also seen in present day traditional Cambodian wedding ceremonies. The production will feature a range of dancers from Youth to Alumni, as well as the works of ADT's Artistic Director, Phousita Huy, in collaboration with many Master Teachers from the Royal University of Fine Arts in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Photo by Angkor Dance Troupe

Excerpts from Preah Thoung Neang Neak (Origins of the Cambodian Wedding)

Angkor Dance Troupe
featuring the UMass Lowell World Music Ensemble

The Great Wide Open

A new production from Flying Orb
Friday, April 6, 2018 at 8 p.m.
UMass Lowell
Durgin Concert Hall
35 Wilder Street, Lowell, MA


  • $10 tickets (cash only at door)
  • Free for UMass Lowell students, faculty, and staff (with UMass Lowell I.D.)