Sophal Ear

Sophal Ear, Ph.D., was elected to the Crescenta Valley Town Council in November 2015 and since January 2017 has served as Corresponding Secretary. He is a tenured Associate Professor of Diplomacy & World Affairs at Occidental College in Los Angeles where he teaches global political economy, development, security, Asia, and senior comprehensives (theses). Previously, he taught comparative political economy, Asian political economy, and how to rebuild countries after wars at the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School and international development policy at the Maxwell School of Syracuse University. He has consulted for the World Bank, was Assistant Representative for the United Nations Development Programme in East Timor, served on the Board of the Macau Property Investment Fund and as an Advisor to Cambodia’s first private equity fund Leopard Capital. He is a TED Fellow, Fulbright Specialist, and Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum, he serves on the Boards of Omnibus Trading Corporation, E2 Lighting USA, Inc., the Nathan Cummings Foundation, Refugees International, Partners for Development, the Center for Khmer Studies, the Southeast Asia Resource Action Center, the Southeast Asia Development Program, and the International Public Management Network, the latter two of which he serves as Treasurer. He is on the Editorial Boards of the Journal of International Relations and Development (Palgrave), the International Public Management Journal (Taylor & Francis), Journal of Southeast Asian American Education & Advancement (Purdue University), and Politics and the Life Sciences (Cambridge University Press). He is the author of Aid Dependence in Cambodia: How Foreign Assistance Undermines Democracy (Columbia University Press, 2013, and co-author of The Hungry Dragon: How China’s Resources Quest is Reshaping the World (Routledge, 2013, He wrote and narrated the award-winning documentary film “The End/Beginning: Cambodia” (47 minutes, 2011, news blurb based on his 2009 TED Talk ( and has appeared in four other documentaries. He is an Executive Producer of In the Life of Music, “a powerful intergenerational tale that explores love, war, and a family’s relationship to the song “Champa Battambang,” made famous by Sinn Sisamouth, the King of Cambodian music, depicting the lives of people whose world is inevitably transformed by the emergence of the Khmer Rouge;” and Some of My Best Friends Are Kimchi, a film that explores conceptions of authenticity, race, and privilege in both documentary film and foodie culture. In 2015 he was named a 40 Under 40 Inspiring Professor by NerdWallet and in 2016 won the Reverend Clementa C. Pinckney Achievement Award for Extraordinary Leadership in Public Service by the Public Policy & International Affairs (PPIA) Fellowship Program. A graduate of Princeton and Berkeley, he moved to the United States from France as a Cambodian refugee at the age of 10.