Cambodian native and humanitarian Arn Chorn Pond will give a lecture titled “Child of War, Man of Peace,” and perform the flute with Jeff Dyer ’04 on Thursday, April 3, at 7 p.m., in the Red Pit, KJ. The event is free and open to the public.
Pond survived the Cambodian genocide to become an internationally recognized human rights leader. He is the subject of the documentary “The Flute Player” and of the critically acclaimed book Never Fall Down (Harper Collins, 2012). Because the Khmer Rouge had massacred most of a generation’s artists and musicians, Pond is teaching the next generation of Cambodians – both in the U.S. and in Cambodia – about their traditional music and art forms.
Pond was sent to a children’s work camp after the Khmer Rouge came to power in 1975. He escaped death by execution and starvation by playing his flute for the camp’s guards and later fled his captors when Vietnamese troops invaded Cambodia in 1979. He managed to reach a refugee camp in Thailand where Peter Pond, a Lutheran minister and aid worker, befriended and adopted him in 1980.
Educated in the United States, attending Brown University and graduating from Providence College, Pond began a series of community rebuilding projects and founded several organizations, including Children of War, Cambodian Volunteers for Community Development, and Peace Makers, a U.S.-based gang-intervention project for Southeast Asian youth. In the mid-1990s, he returned to Cambodia on a mission to find the legacy of his family that was involved in the Cambodian Opera, his music teacher from the time of the Khmer Rouge, and the stars of his early childhood. On this trip the Cambodian Masters Performers Project, now Cambodian Living Arts, was born.
Pond received the Reebok Human Rights Award, the Anne Frank Memorial Award, the Kohl Foundation International Peace Prize and two honorary doctorates for peace and humanitarian service. He is an accomplished musician, recording artist and performer who travels the world speaking to young people motivating them to be peacemakers.
Jeff Dyer traveled to Cambodia in 2004 through a Watson Fellowship to study the music of the Khmer people and work with Pond. Dyer and Pond initiated a conference for the country’s master musicians, performed for an international delegation that included the World Bank President, and worked with masters and students to continue Cambodia’s artistic renaissance.
This event is sponsored by the Diversity and Social Justice Project (DSJP) and the Dean of Faculty’s office.