• My name is Sophal Ear, Ph.D.

Sophal Ear, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Diplomacy and World Affairs at Occidental College in Los Angeles, California

I am an expert in international political economy, security, and development. Published topics include but are not limited to China’s global resource strategy (Angola, Brazil, and Cambodia), transitional justice and the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, the politics of emerging infectious diseases (Avian Influenza in Southeast Asia, including Indonesia, and Swine Flu in the US and Mexico) surveillance, the political economy of aid, growth, and governance globally and Cambodia in particular.

— Sophal Ear, Ph.D. —

I have been published in or spoken at:

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Educational Background

I earned my Ph.D. in the Department of Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley, in 2006, and spent the academic year 2006-07 as a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Public Administration at the Maxwell School of Syracuse University. I also have three master’s degrees: a Master of Science in Agricultural and Resource Economics, a Master of Arts in Political Science (both from UC Berkeley) and a Master in Public Affairs from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. My Bachelor of Arts degree, also from UC Berkeley, was in Economics and Political Science.

  • Heroes such as Ear, desperately trying to make people understand that the culprits of Cambodia’s genocide have not been tried…

    — Alvaro Vargas Llosa —
  • Among many riveting presentations was one by a survivor of the Cambodian genocide, Sophal Ear.

    — Claudia Rosett —
  • I want to try to express my thanks to you for presenting such a dynamic and eloquent … presentation, A Refugee’s Journey, at the dinner for the 2011 Multicultural-Historically Black Institution Visitation program.

    — Dwight E. Lewis, PhD, Director, Multicultural Programs, Purdue University —


Books I've Written

If she fails, we’re all headed to the gallows. If she passes, we can leave to Vietnam.

— Sophal Ear, PhD, at TED2009 —

Check out the latest news and updates from Sophal

Watch my TED Talk “Escaping the Khmer Rouge”


I'd really love to hear from you so why not drop me an email?


I will talk with reporters about my academic areas of interest — namely, Comparative politics and political economy of development; Southeast Asia; Post-conflict reconstruction (particularly Cambodia); Aid effectiveness and governance. A segment I did in April 2006 for Australia Television is available here and a very brief cameo for a KION-46 piece for Theology on Tap is here. I am quoted and have written for a number of news outlets, including Asia Times Online, the Cambodia Daily, the Daily Journal, the International Herald Tribune, the New York Times, the Pacific News Service, the Phnom Penh Post, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and the Washington Times.


The best way to get an appointment is by email.

Please email me a list of the subjects you are interested in before the interview, preferably in the form of specific questions.  You aren’t limited to those questions, but I like to have an idea of what you are interested in.

As a condition for any interview, I require a reasonable opportunity to check your post-edit piece for factual errors before publication.  You can satisfy this requirement either by giving me the piece or by reading to me all quotes and relevant descriptions or paraphrases.

Research Assistants and Coauthors

I am searching for volunteer research assistants to work on current projects – the tradeoff between democracy and security in post-conflict countries (Cambodia, East Timor, Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraq).  Most of your time will be spent answering questions by writing memoranda and reading and commenting on my work or the work of other RAs.

It should be clear that you do RA work to learn something, and hopefully to lead to a strong letter of recommendation.

If you are interested in doing this, you should email me a resume and a description of your interests.

I am very inclined to coauthor pieces with people who take up this invitation and who do good work.  In past years, we have placed articles in Asian Development Review (Asian Development Bank), Asian Survey(University of California Press), Development and Change (Institute of International Studies, The Hague), World’s Poultry Science Journal (Cambridge University Press), in World Fascism: A Historical Encyclopedia(ABC Clio, 2006), and World History Encyclopedia (ABC Clio, forthcoming).



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