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Troubled Waters: The Challenges Facing Cambodia’s Tonle Sap Lake


Join NIAS, New York Southeast Asia Network, the Center for Khmer Studies, and the Weatherhead East Asian Institute for a talk with Abby Seiff and her new book Troubling the Water: A Dying Lake and a Vanishing World in Cambodia.

The abundance of Cambodia’s Tonle Sap Lake helped grow the country for millennia and gave rise to the Kingdom of Angkor. Fed by the rich, mud-colored waters of the powerful Mekong River, the lake owes its vast bounty to an ecological miracle that has captivated poets, artisans, and explorers throughout history. But today, the lake is dying. Hydropower dams hold back billions of gallons of water and disrupt critical fish migration paths. On the lake, illegal fishing abetted by corruption is now unstoppable. A fast-changing climate, meanwhile, has seen a string of devastating droughts.

In conversation with NYSEAN Program Coordinator Sreyneath Poole, they will explore how the rapid destruction of Cambodia’s largest lake is upending the lives of millions who depend on the lake for their survival.


Abby Seiff is a journalist and editor who was based in Southeast Asia for nearly a decade, writing for publications like Time, Al Jazeera, Mekong Review, and Pacific Standard, among others. Her reporting has garnered several awards as well as fellowships from Yaddo and the Logan Nonfiction Program. She is currently studying for an MFA at Brooklyn College.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the publications and through webinars are solely those of the authors or speakers. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of The Center for Khmer Studies, Inc. The designations employed in the publications and through the webinars, and the presentation of material therein, do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of The Center for Khmer Studies, Inc. as to the matters discussed therein. The responsibility for opinions expressed in the publications and webinars are solely those of the authors or speakers, and the publication does not constitute an endorsement by The Center for Khmer Studies, Inc. of the opinions, views or issues discussed therein.


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