Negotiating cultural industries

A case study from Cambodia

Authored by: Frances Rudgard , Phloeun Prim

Routledge Handbook of Cultural and Creative Industries in Asia

Print publication date:  December  2018
Online publication date:  December  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138959927
eBook ISBN: 9781315660509
Adobe ISBN:


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Cambodian Living Arts is a US-registered organization, currently operating solely in Cambodia, but with a strong institutional connection to the USA. This connection is largely thanks to the organization’s founder, Arn Chorn-Pond. Arn is Cambodian born, from a family of artists. He grew up in Battambang, Cambodia until the Khmer Rouge regime took over the country. According to the Yale University Genocide Studies Program (2018), during the period 1975–9, up to 2 million people (approximately 21 percent of the population at that time) died from starvation, torture, and execution. During the Khmer Rouge period, Arn was a child soldier. He spent time in the band of a prison camp, which he believes saved his life, before escaping and eventually finding his way to a refugee camp in Thailand. There he met an American reverend, Peter Pond, who adopted Arn and a number of other Cambodian children, and took them to America. At that time, Arn was approximately 16 years old. He went on to complete his high school and college education in the US, before becoming an international advocate for human rights. Arn continues to tell his personal story and perform his music around the world, to communicate a message of peace and love.

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