About the Seminar
The political developments in Cambodia are fast evolving, with high structural uncertainties and risks. The close down of some local media and the arrest of the head of the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), Kem Sokha, have rattled domestic politics and raised concerns in other countries. Local and international observers share the view that the political outlook seems bleak. Some observers contend that Cambodia is descending into an “authoritarian regime” or even “dictatorship”; while a few others still believe that democracy will prevail and thrive and that the ongoing political tension is just temporary. International pressure, especially from the US and European Union, on the Phnom Penh government is mounting. China on the other hand supports the actions taken by the Cambodian government. The seminar aims to give an overview of the ongoing political dynamics, gauge multiple future scenarios especially with regard to the general election in 2018, explain the connections between domestic politics and foreign policy, and explore the possibility of a political breakthrough.
About the Speaker
Dr Vannarith Chheang is a Visiting Fellow at ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute. He is also a consultant at The Nippon Foundation in Tokyo, Chairman of Advisory Board at the Cambodia Institute for Strategic Studies, and adjunct Senior Fellow at the Cambodian Institute for Cooperation and Peace where he previously served as the Executive Director from 2009 to 2013. He was a Lecturer of Asia Pacific Studies at the University of Leeds from 2013 to 2016 and was also Visiting Fellow at China’s Institute for International Studies (Beijing, China), Nippon Foundation’s Asian Public Intellectuals (Tokyo, Japan), the Institute for Developing Economies (IDE-JETRO) (Chiba, Japan), and East-West Center (Washington DC, USA). Chheang also served as a technical adviser to the Cambodian National Assembly in 2011 and assistant to Cambodia’s Defense Minister from 2011 to 2012. He was honoured as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum and a World Cities Summit Young Leader and has also been a recipient of numerous leadership fellowships from different parts of the world, including T-wai’s Global Emerging Voices (Italy), Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of France, and CSIS Pacific Young Leaders Program (USA).