Cambodia is one of those nations with a long and often violent tug of war for power. The Khmer empire once stretched throughout most of Southeast Asia. Under it’s reign, the breathtaking Angkor Wat was constructed. After years of fighting between other people groups, the Chinese descended on the country and pushed the Khmer south. Later, when the French colonized it, they brought with them their western influence.
In 1975, a dark stain began to spread over the nation as Pol Pot overthrew the government. Under claims of purging the nation of western influence, he began a systematic extermination of the nation’s people. Anyone who was educated, politically experienced, wealthy, or westernized was sent to prison camps like S-21, tortured and killed. At the end of his regime, anywhere from 1.7 to 3 million Cambodians had been worked to death, starved, or killed.
Today, we see new growth in Cambodia. NGO’s from around the world have pitched in to help rebuild the nation. People for Care and Learning is one such organization. Based in Siem Reap, PCL runs an orphanage, teaches computer and English to masseuses and taxi drivers, and runs a clinical outreach to some of the 2 million refugees living on the Tonle Sap lake.
Emerge and People for Care and Learning partnered to bring leaders from all over Asia together for the ASPAC Leadership Conference. With inspiring worship from Tom Sterbens, fresh insight from Chuck Quinley on the dynamics of growth environments, and practical teaching from Fred Garmon on conflict management, the leaders left refreshed and buzzing with new ideas.