Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs
MPA
Amalia Mollie Coyle

Mollie Coyle MPA ’19 (left) and the GPE Cambodia cohort meet with the minister for the environment.

"It was an eye-opening introduction to the way policy and politicians function in Cambodia under what is generally considered to be a highly corrupt authoritarian regime."

Mollie Coyle, MPA ’19

Reflecting on the Global Policy Experience in Cambodia

My favorite policy experience in Cambodia was meeting with the Minister of the Environment. The meeting was not what any of us expected, but it was an eye-opening introduction to the way policy and politicians function in Cambodia under what is generally considered to be a highly corrupt authoritarian regime. I was also really impacted by visiting Wat Snguon Pich and Ampe Phnom. I’ve read and learned about the Khmer Rouge regime before, but being there in person and seeing the killing fields, the temples, and the monuments of recovered bones made it so much more real, as did visiting the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (the special tribunal for crimes committed during the Khmer Rouge regime). My undergraduate degree is in Justice and Peace Studies, so learning about how the country has struggled to deal with such a complicated legacy of violence was particularly interesting to me. I was also fascinated to learn about other cultural and historical impacts of the Khmer Rouge regime that I had never considered, such as the looting of statues from Koh Ker and Angkor Wat.