Working in partnership with local organizations is key to EWMI’s successful implementation of programs and ensures sustainable results. EWMI takes pride in its commitment to its local partners, and established the Partner Legacy Support Program in 2013 as a mechanism to continue to fund its partners around the world. EWMI is currently working with the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, an organization that has played a key role in advancing peace and reconciliation in Cambodia and beyond, to help fund the establishment of the Cambodia Peace Museum.
After decades of conflict, Cambodia is experiencing a period of peace. However, Cambodians still face challenges linked to their turbulent past including the trauma associated with the memory and legacies of war, educating younger generations of Cambodians about the deeper roots of conflict and rebuilding the social fabric of the country to prevent future violence. Although formal justice processes have contributed to some measure of reconciliation, a shared understanding of how and why the various conflicts from the 1960s through the 1990s came about is yet to materialize.
In part this is because young Cambodians have little opportunity to learn about the past, through their own families or within the formal schooling and education system. As the dominant narrative of the Khmer Rouge years places heavy emphasis on Khmers killing Khmers, Cambodians feel often ashamed of the atrocities committed, and older Cambodians often hesitate to share their stories with the younger generation. Young Cambodians (nearly 70% of the country’s population is under 30) not only have difficulty understanding what has happened in the past, but also encounter challenges gaining a comprehensive picture of the actual events. It is undeniable that Cambodia has come a long way since the 1960s and the end of conflict, but the success of peacebuilders in the transforming the country remains overshadowed by the residual silence surrounding Cambodia’s past, and the emphasis and attention given to the brutality of the crimes committed during the 1970s.
Although Cambodia has a number of museums dedicated to the nation’s experience with conflict, the focus of these institutions is often to document the atrocities, focusing on the violence of the past and demonizing the Khmer Rouge, rather than explaining how these events occurred, to contextualize them, or providing a picture of the past that serves to strengthen peace in Cambodia; a picture that is inclusive and future-oriented can play a significant role in working towards reconciliation.
Despite Cambodia’s long history of conflict and subsequent challenges in achieving reconciliation, Cambodians as a people have demonstrated great resilience in terms of dealing with and overcoming adversity so intrinsically linked to a post-conflict context, something that is missing from existing museums dedicated to the recent national history.
In order to address these gaps CPCS proposes to establish the Cambodia Peace Museum, an educational and experiential space geared towards supporting a wider national healing process; one which highlights the resilience of Cambodia’s people in transforming conflict and overcoming adversity, as well as the nation's potential as a learning center for its regional neighbors.
EWMI is accepting donations on behalf of the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies to support their initiative. All tax deductible donations for this project will be sent directly to our partner in Cambodia. EWMI does not retain any overhead on these donations. You may support this effort by donating online through EWMI’s Network for Good donation form. Please be sure to enter "Cambodia Peace Museum" in the designation line, and note that Network for Good collects a small processing fee. Alternatively, you may send a check to EWMI made out to East-West Management Institute, Inc. Please include "Cambodia Peace Museum" on the memo line to ensure that 100% of the donation goes toward this initiative.
For more information about the museum please visit the CPCS website.