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Exhibition : A dangerous tour...

A reporters dangerous guided tour through Democratic Kampuchea

Discussion with institution staffs: February 8, 2012 at 3:30pm
Discussion with students: Febuary 9, 2012 at 9am
Opening: February 9, 2012 at 6pm
Exhibition Date: 9 - 29 February, 2012
Location: Bophana Center, #64, Street 200, Phnom Penh

Bophana Center with support from US Embassy in Phnom Penh and University of Washington Libraries is hosting an exhibit of rare photographs from Democratic Kampuchea, including recorded interviews of Khmer Rouge learders by the famous American journalist Elizabeth Becker in order to raise awareness to the public. She will explain why officials of Democratic Kampuchea invited her to come in 1978; explain what the world did and did not know about Democratic Kampuchea; what she saw and didn't see on the trip; the historic importance of the trip and how Cambodia is confronting its past today.

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Artist Background to Exhibition:
Elizabeth Becker was one of only two Western journalists allowed to visit Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge. The Khmer Rouge organized this December 1978 visit to show only good things about Cambodia. Ms. Becker was never allowed to travel on her own and was always accompanied by armed guards. Yet even then the country looked haunted. Ms. Becker found that what was most revealing was what was missing: the city streets were empty; schools and wats were shut down; even the national highways were nearly empty. The trip was also dangerous. On her last night her group of three was attacked by a Khmer Rouge gun man and the British professor was killed.
Ms. Becker has donated digital copies of her color slides of that two week trip and copies of recorded interviews with Pol Pot, Ieng Sary and Ieng Thirith to the permanent collection of the Bophana Center. She hopes this will encourage the public discussion of the Khmer Rouge period.

Elizabeth Hue Becker

Elizabeth Becker, an award-winning author and journalist, has covered national and international affairs as a Washington correspondent at The New York Times, the Senior Foreign Editor at National Public Radio and a Washington Post correspondent. She began her career as a war reporter in Cambodia in 1972 and is an expert on the Khmer Rouge and modern Cambodia.

She was the 2008 Edelman fellow at Harvards Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy at the Kennedy School of Government.

At The New York Times from 1995 to 2005, Ms. Becker covered the Pentagon, homeland security, international economics, and agriculture. Her farm coverage won five awards from the North American Agricultural Journalists Association. As the Times International Economics correspondent, she reported on trade and globalization from Asia, Europe, Latin America, and the United States.

Prior to joining the Times, she was the Senior Foreign Editor at NPR where she directed all foreign coverage and expanded coverage in Asia and Africa. She received two DuPont-Columbia Awards as executive producer for reporting of South Africas first democratic elections and the Rwanda genocide.

Ms. Becker covered the war in Cambodia for The Washington Post and was one of only two journalists to visit Cambodia and interview Pol Pot while he was in power. She won an Overseas Press Club citation for that coverage in 1978. As a freelance journalist based in Paris (1986 to 1990), she covered the peace negotiations that culminated in the Paris Peace Accords of 1992.

Ms. Becker is the author of "WHEN THE WAR WAS OVER" (1986), a history of modern Cambodia and the Khmer Rouge for which she won a Robert F. Kennedy Book citation. The book was updated in 1998 and has been translated into French and Khmer. She is also the author of "AMERICAS VIETNAM WAR" (1992), a narrative history for young adults.

Her essays and opinion pieces appear frequently in The New York Times, the Washington Post, the International Herald Tribune, and she has contributed to Asian, European and American magazines and journals. Additionally, she has lectured at numerous universities and colleges and was an adjunct professor at Georgetown University.

She holds a degree in South Asian studies from the University of Washington and also studied at the Kendriya Hindi Sansthaan in Agra, India. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and of the boards of directors of Oxfam America and the Arthur Burns Foundation.


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