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In Memoriam

Dr. Benny Widyono (1936 - 2019).

The Center of Khmer Studies announces with deep regret the passing of its distinguished board member, The Honourable Dr. Benny Widyono, on March 17, 2019, in his sleep, surrounded by his family, in Stamford, CT. Born an Indonesian of Chinese ethnicity, Benny had proudly become an American citizen last year. With his wife Francesca, he lived in Cambodia for many years, first as United Nations Governor of Siem Reap Province, and after that for long years as Ambassador and Dean of the Diplomatic Corps as UN Ambassador to Cambodia. He spoke Khmer and loved Cambodians and Khmer culture.

Following a long and distinguished career at the United Nations, he served on both corporate and non-profit boards, notably Leopard Capital (makers of Kingdom Beer) and the CKS in Cambodia. Born an Indonesian of a prominent Chinese Catholic family, he had lived through s genocide against the Chinese even before encountering the Khmer Rouge as UN Governor of Siem Reap Province after the Paris Peace Accords. His life was threatened multiple times, as he recounts in his engaging biography, សាក្សីប្រវត្តិសាស្រ្ត published in Khmer in 2011. He was a courageous leader and spoke his mind.

Dr. Widyono held a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Texas, and, since retirement from his position as United Nations ambassador to Cambodia, he returned to teaching as Professor of Economics at the University of Connecticut, near his home. Dr. Widyono was a major contributor to the Center for Khmer Studies for over 12 years, giving countless public lectures and serving on the executive committee of its board. He enjoyed being with people, both the powerful and the young. We at CKS mourn his passing and express to his wife Francisca and his four children our deepest sympathy.

If you wish to leave a donation in memory of Dr. Benny Widyono, please click on Donate button. Once you put the dollar amount you will be asked for payment. Here you may add a note “Donation in honor of Dr. Benny Widyono”. Thank you

Jacques Hennessy, Chairman
Natharoun Ngo, Director

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Publications

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Mission

The Center for Khmer Studies’ (CKS) mission is to support research and teaching in the social sciences, arts, and humanities as they relate to Cambodia. Since our founding in 1998, CKS has aimed to foster understanding of Cambodia and the Mekong region by:
  • Supporting research on Cambodia and promoting scholarly exchange;
  • Strengthening advanced scholarship in Cambodia;
  • Integrating Cambodian scholars into regional and global scholarly and professional communities and networks;
  • Expanding and deepening advanced scholarship on Cambodia at US institutions.
We think of ourselves as a bridge, as a crossroads: a real center for institutions, scholars, students, and the general public to meet and interact, through a series of programs and initiatives, including:
  • The CKS Library: provides the largest public library outside the capital, Phnom Penh, with over 20,000 monographs, books and journals, and with publicly accessible computers.
  • Fellowships: support the research and education of junior and senior scholars from Cambodia and overseas.
  • Research and Training Programs: enable the training of young Cambodian scholars and the integration of their Cambodia-grounded research with Cambodian and overseas universities.
  • Publishing and Translation Program: produces original scholarly manuscripts and translates foundational social science and historical texts into the Khmer language.
  • Conferences/Events: present local and international, inter-disciplinary workshops, conferences, and lectures in Siem Reap and Phnom Penh to establish professional partnerships between Cambodian and international scholars.
CKS’s educational programs are run from our headquarters in Siem Reap and from our office in Phnom Penh. We encourage you to visit us and to learn more about what we do!

CKS is a non-governmental institution supported by international foundations, educational institutions, scholars, the US department of education, and interested individuals and philanthropists from the US, France, and Cambodia.
CKS is registered with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cambodia. CKS has a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Education of Cambodia and with several public and private universities in Cambodia, Southeast Asia, Europe, and the US. CKS is also a member institution of the Council of American Overseas Research Centers.