Democracy in Peril
Mu Sochua, deputy leader of Cambodia’s opposition party and a lifelong advocate for democracy and women’s rights in Southeast Asia, will speak on “Democracy in Peril” at Princeton University’s Robertson Hall, Thursday, Oct. 11, at 4:30 p.m.As the daughter of parents who disappeared when the Khmer Rouge regime took control of Cambodia in 1975, Sochua spent most of her young adult life in exile in the United States. When she returned to Cambodia in 1991, she strove to rebuild her country, first by founding Khemara, a nongovermental organization for women’s empowerment, and by joining the National United Front for an Independent, Neutral, Peaceful and Cooperative Cambodia party, known as FUNCINPE.Sochua eventually won a seat in Parliament, where she served as the first minister of women and veterans’ affairs between 1998 and 2004. Under Prime Minister Hun Sen, Sochua stepped down and became vice president of the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), the country’s main electoral opposition party. Still dedicated to her work in combating sex trafficking and promoting gender equality, she received a Vital Voices’ Leadership Award and was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in 2005.Sochua is living in exile after Hun Sen dissolved the CNRP and threatened its leaders in 2017. She is fighting to ensure the restoration of democracy and freedom in Cambodia.Sochua is visiting the Woodrow Wilson School as the Joseph S. Nye Jr. ’58 International Affairs Lecturer.