Sunday, February 13, 2011
Cambodia’s ambassador to the United States is Heng Hem, a diplomat with more than 30 years of experience working in foreign affairs.
Hem was born in Kampong Cham province on November 8, 1951. He graduated from the Agricultural School of Prek Leap in Phnom Penh in 1970.
His diplomatic career started in June 1979, following the overthrow of the Khmer Rouge, when he joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.
From 1983 to 1985, he worked as the bureau chief in the ministry’s Protocol Department. Following this duty, his first foreign assignment took him to Hanoi, Vietnam, where he served as second secretary in the Cambodian embassy.
He returned to the Protocol Department in 1989, and then shifted to the Department of Information (bureau chief) from 1990-1992.
He was made deputy director of the Economic Cooperation Department in 1992 and served in this role for four years. During this period he attended the Royal School of Administration in Phnom Penh, earning a Certificate in Public Administration (1993).
In 1996, Hem was promoted to deputy director general of the ASEAN Directorate for the foreign ministry.
Two years later, he was posted to India, serving as minister counselor in the Cambodian embassy. While in New Delhi, he attended the Indian Academy of International Law and Diplomacy, earning a degree in 1999 in international law, international organizations and diplomacy. He also received his Master of Arts in political science from the University of Delhi (2001).
He returned to Cambodia in 2001 to serve as director of the Asia 2 Department.
From 2004 to 2006, Hem was Director of Information and Documentation for the foreign ministry and concurrently was an advisor to the deputy prime minister until October 2008, when he was appointed ambassador to the United States.
Hem speaks English and French. He is married and has three sons.