Kambodscha: Emma Leslie

I am frustrated with people who say that there is nothing you can do about a particular issue and thus, do very little. I do not want to be like that.

— Emma Leslie

Emma Leslie (born 1971), an Australian actively engaged in peace building and conflict transformation, came to Cambodia in 1997 and helped develop a peace education curriculum for Cambodian high schools and peace training programs. Emma and her colleagues established Action Asia Network, a regional network of peace builders, focused on supporting people living in violent conflict. She also works internationally in conflict transformation through the South Africa-based Action Network and the UK-based organization Responding to Conflict (RTC).

Emma Leslie has contributed to conflict transformation and peace education in Cambodia and plays an important role in peace networking in Asia. She grew up in the country town of Bathurst, Australia, and worked in community development with the Anglican Board of Mission-Australia (ABM), where she helped to establish an exchange program for young people with mission partners throughout the Asia Pacific region. She was also active in a number of ecumenical youth networks and organizations, including the Christian Conference of Asia Youth Committee. In 1997, she moved to Cambodia where she worked with the Cambodia Campaign to Ban Landmines (CCBL) focusing on conflict issues related to the distribution of land after de-mining. Consequently she became involved in a number of Cambodian organizations, namely the Working Group for Weapon Reduction’s Peace Education Project (WGWR), the nationalism and identity research program of the Alliance for Conflict Transformation (ACT) and the Cambodia Peace and Development Center's (CPD) conflict transformation training. Emma also helped found Action, an international network, and Action Asia, a regional network. With the Action Asia network, she has established relations among peace builders in Cambodia, Burma, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Kyrgyzstan and other parts of the region. With her husband, Emma is building a community and education center in northwestern Cambodia for isolated and rural communities. "Our children need these lessons in problem solving, peace, prejudice, discrimination, cooperation and vision building," Emma reflected at a workshop in a primary school in Kampong Thom province. Currently, Emma is writing a curriculum for community level training on mediation and alternative dispute resolution. She also hopes to operate an action research master’s degree course on applied conflict transformation by December 2005.

Action Asia Network