Khao I Dang in late 1979, soon after the camp's establishment.  © ICRC (Photograph by Gérard Leblanc)

Khao I Dang
For my dissertation, I am studying the history and legacies of Khao I Dang refugee camp, built in Thailand after the fall of the Khmer Rouge. Sometimes referred to as a "bamboo city," Khao I Dang reached a peak population of 140,000 and remained open for nearly fourteen years, from late 1979 until early 1993.

My research explores how the Cambodian relief operation in Thailand, particularly in Khao I Dang, influenced the professionalization of international humanitarian assistance in the late 1970s and 1980s. I argue that the lessons derived from this experience had a significant impact on the Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) as it became a more "operational" agency.

I began working on this project in 2015 and have since conducted dozens of oral history interviews—including with former UN and U.S. government officials, relief workers, and refugees—as well as extensive archival research at repositories in the United States, Cambodia, Thailand, Switzerland, France, and England.​​​​​​​

Since 2017, I have also been coordinating a public history project called "Recollecting Khao I Dang," which involves the development of a website, a social media presence, and, in partnership with the Rutgers Oral History Archives, a collection of interview transcripts.

After completing my PhD, I plan to revise my dissertation into a book manuscript.