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Ohio University Prepares for Varied Khmer Forum

A student reads a book on campus, at Ohio University.
A student reads a book on campus, at Ohio University.

Ohio University holds its 3rd annual Khmer Studies Forum later this week, offering a rare opportunity for scholars of Khmer issues to share their work.

For two days starting from April 29, researchers, experts and enthusiasts will gather in Athens, Ohio, to share their thoughts and findings.

Christine Su, organizer of the forum, said the event combines academic and intellectual pursuit with community and cultural interests.

“The Khmer Studies Forum is very import because it allows the opportunity to study Cambodia specifically, to talk about Cambodian history, Cambodian culture, Cambodian contemporary issues, and also allows for our faculties and the community, who may not know very much about Cambodia, to learn from the students and from the presenters,” she said.

Su said the forum will cover a wide range of topics, including linguistics, ancient Khmer scripts, genocide survivors, film, media in Cambodia, border crossings, forced deportation, forced relocation, development and politics.

Aside from academic papers, the forum will showcase the Cambodian martial art Lbokatao, along with food and classical dance.

Don Jameson, who was a US diplomat in Cambodia between 1970 and 1974, will present his paper on “Cambodia’s Bumpy Road to Development.”

He said this month’s forum shows how much research is now coming out of Cambodia.

“I went there in the early 1970s,” he said. “There were about three or four books on Cambodia, and that’s about all. Very little ever to understand the place and what’s happening there. Now, papers and books are coming out all the time.”

Narin Jameson, the author of “Cooking the Cambodian Way,” will demonstrate Khmer food at the forum. She told VOA Khmer by phone that food is a part of the national identity.

“Food is part of culture,” she said. “Therefore we should demonstrate Khmer food. The demonstration of Khmer food is very useful for promoting awareness about Khmers, because food is important for human life.”