Post-conflict higher education and transnational politics at a crossroads: a new Vietnamese language studies program faces protests in Cambodia


Theara Thun

in Studies in Higher Education

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Abstract: Higher education consists of a wide array of education programs, some of which closely involve both domestic politics and issues that transcend national boundaries. This paper explores a controversial and highly contested higher education program that is shaped by a post-conflict affected context and transnational politics. Based on the case study of a new Vietnamese language studies program in Cambodia, the paper demonstrates that when post-conflict education and transnational politics intersect with one another in many ways, post-war higher education reconstruction becomes a platform where stakeholders such as youths and national and international governments contest and negotiate influence and change. By critically examining the relations between educational phenomena and historical, national, and geopolitical dynamics in a post-conflict environment, the paper discusses key factors of higher education reconstruction in the aftermath of social upheavals and mass atrocities. It also offers a fresh perspective on the multifaceted dynamics of a higher education program which involves public protests, state intervention, transnational disputes, and inter-state relations.

About the authorTheara Thun was a NUS-HYI Joint Doctoral Scholar from 2012-16.