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Symposium: Cambodia’s Past, Present, and Future

August 9, 2019

August 10, 2019 Odegaard Library, University of Washington

Cambodian American Community Council of Washington (CACCWA)

The symposium, designed to provide a better understanding of the history of political developments in Cambodia and its implication for the future of the country and the Khmer people, featured government officials-cum-historians and experts on the region. There were introductory presentations by former U.S. diplomats and a Cambodian official in the Khmer Republic government who discussed the country’s past.  The symposium concluded with a look at the present and future with Ambassador William Heidt (2015-18) and Sotie Heidt.

Political  History – The Past (1:00 pm – 2:50 pm)

Presenters will summarize and highlight Cambodia’s political development from independence to the emergence of the Khmer Republic and its fall in 1975. Panelists will share their experience and knowledge from studying, witnessing and participating in these events, Presenters are Donald Jameson, Van Sar, and Barry Broman.

Donald Jameson, Political Officer at the US Embassy from 1970 to 1973.

Mr. Jameson provides an overview of Cambodia’s political development from independence through the the Khmer Republic and its fall in 1975.

Van Sar, former Minister of National Security in Cambodia’s government.

Mr. Van Sar shared his experience and views on what transpired in the Cambodian government during the Khmer Republic. He described why he was forced out of his homeland and discussed the pursuit of democracy in Cambodia.

Barry Broman, Economic Officer at the US Embassy (1973 to 1975) and as Political Officer working on Cambodia from (1990 to 1992).

Mr. Broman shares his experience and knowledge of Cambodia in the last two years before the fall of the Khmer Republic in 1975, as well as his additional work on Cambodia during 1990-92.

The Present and the Future (3:00 pm – 4:30 pm)

Presenters shared their experience and knowledge of recent developments in Cambodia affecting the country and its population and offer a look ahead into the future.

William Heidt, Former US Ambassador to Cambodia

Mr. Heidt will share his views and experience on recent development affecting the country and future generations. He will highlight key aspects of economic, political, and technological development. He will discuss the role of population (both men and women) and institutions (government, NGOs, media) in Cambodia’s development and governance.

Sotie Heidt, Two-time recipient of the US national award for humanitarian service

Mrs. Heidt was born in Cambodia and is also a former Seattleite. She is a two-time recipient of the US national award for humanitarian service. Wife of Ambassador Heidt, the couple lived in Cambodia during his appointment between 2015 and 2018. Despite being back in the US, she retains strong interests in improving children’s well-being and women’s health and success in Cambodia. She will share her experience and knowledge of Khmer women’s conditions and their struggle to better themselves and take part in governing the country, in business, and as citizens.

Speaker Biographies

Barry Broman  —  William Heidt  —  Sotie Heidt  —  Donald Jameson  —  VAN Sar

Papers and Presentations

Donald Jameson  — Sotie Heidt- (References)  — VAN Sar Cambodia Recent History — Cambodia: Reducing the gender gap