Sophal Ear leads research on post-conflict countries -- looking at the effectiveness of foreign aid and the challenge of development in places like his native land, Cambodia.
TED Fellow Sophal Ear is an Assistant Professor in the Department of National Security Affairs at the US Naval Postgraduate School. He has taught on the hospital ship USNS Mercy in support of the Pacific Partnership 2008. He completed his postdoc at the Maxwell School at Syracuse University, where he taught Policy and Administration in Developing Countries.
Before entering academia, he consulted for the World Bank and worked for the United Nations Development Programme. Early in his career he traveled to the West Bank and Gaza, and to Algeria, on social protection projects, where he gained a firsthand understanding of the realities of foreign aid on a national scale. Having grown up on Aid to Families with Dependent Children, he personally knew there were pitfalls to welfare system.
He came to the US at the age of 10 as a Cambodian refugee via France after his mother escaped with him and his four siblings from the Khmer Rouge by posing as a Vietnamese woman. She recounted her journey to him in an article in The New York Times.