Virak Ou will discuss the possibility and demographic underpinnings of a so-called “Cambodian Spring” — and will offer suggestions for what the international community can do to assist Cambodians during this transitional, tense time.
Human rights activist and intellectual Virak Ou is the president of the Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR), one of Cambodia’s most prominent human rights organizations. Ou is the recipient of the 2007 Reebok Human Rights Award for his campaign to free activists and decriminalize defamation in Cambodia. He is also the founder of the Alliance for Freedom of Expression in Cambodia, otherwise known as AFEC. He is a survivor of the Cambodian Khmer Rouge era and was a child refugee before settling in the United States in 1989. Ou holds an MA in economics from San Jose State University.
Cambodia is currently experiencing unprecedented social upheaval, in the wake of the hotly contested elections of last summer. Ou’s CCHR has been at the forefront of advocating for human rights protections and free speech for both sides of the political debate.