A Journey from Cambodia to America and Back!

National Assembly, Parliament, Cambodia

A Journey from Cambodia to America and Back!

Monday, 13 February 2017 - 3:30pm to 5:00pm
Venue: 
Fellows' Dining Room
Speaker(s): 
Sothy Tep (MP, Kingdom of Cambodia; Foreign Service Programme, University of Oxford)
Convenor: 
Dr Matthew J Walton
Series: 
Southeast Asia Seminar

It’s the most dangerous country you’ll ever visit, because you’ll fall in love with it…and then it will break your heart – Joseph Mussomeli, former US Ambassador to Cambodia

Sothy Tep, Member of Parliament (2013-18) and Oxford Foreign Service Programme student, will describe in this talk her personal experiences – in a picture-story format – from Cambodia as a refugee to the USA and back as a successful female politician in a male-dominated political role. Despite Cambodia’s past tragedies and current challenges, she is optimistic and hopeful that the country will gradually recover to its former title, The Pearl of Southeast Asia, as hailed by the first Singapore Prime Minister Lee Kwan Yew. H.E. Tep will also provide an overview of the roles and responsibilities of a Cambodian Member of Parliament balancing family life, and how she ended up in Oxford.

Recommended film: The Trap of Saving Cambodia, one step forward – twenty steps back, how aid, investment, and globalisation are killing a country.

Sothy Tep is a Member of the National Assembly of the Kingdom of Cambodia, and currently enrolled in the University of Oxford’s Foreign Service Programme. She and her family lived in Cambodia during the Khmer Rouge period, but emigrated to the United States of America in 1983 after staying in a Thailand refugee camp for three years. H.E. Tep then lived in Chicago, where she was a secondary school teacher, and obtained two Master's degrees and completed doctoral courses required for a Doctoral Degree in Education prior to reinventing herself as a politician. In June 2013, she and her husband, John M. Ofstie, relocated permanently to Cambodia. She was elected to the National Assembly in July of that same year.