Moderator or manipulator? Norodom Sihanouk and the nature of UN authority-building in Cambodia (1992-93)

Event details

PSC Seminar

Date & time

Friday 18 August 2017


PSC Reading Room 4.27, Hedley Bull Centre (130), Garran Road, ANU
ANU Canberra


Katrin Travouillon


Helen McMartin

Evaluations of the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia make little mention of a contentious proposal that almost led to the amendment of UNTAC’s mandate: To safeguard stability in the country several high-ranking UN officials and members of Cambodia’s political elite supported the idea to organize presidential elections, knowing that this would secure the future leadership of Prince Norodom Sihanouk. The lecture uses archival materials – among them letters, internal memos, UNTAC reports and policy analysis – to discuss the arguments raised by supporters and opponents of this plan. It argues for the value of a more empirical approach to the analysis of authority-building during interventions by demonstrating the wider repercussions of UNTAC’s decisions to selectively acknowledge and reject the legitimacy claims of local actors.

About the Speaker Dr Katrin Travouillon is a researcher at the Center for the Scientific Study of Ethics and Morality, California who specialises in Cambodian politics and international peacebuilding. She has a PhD in political science from Philipp University, Marburg and an MA in European Studies from the European University Viadriana, Frankfurt.

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