New Student Photo Series – Post 9

Joe Maddens (Jelle is my legal name, but people call me Joe), MIA

Joe Maddens is a dual degree MIA/MBA student studying self-sustainable genocide prevention initiatives. This summer he is in Phnom Penh, helping a Cambodian nonprofit write the business plan for a museum that supports genocide education, national healing, and cultural revival.

Siem Reap 176(Joe is second from the left )

The majority of the museum’s exhibits are on the Khmer Rouge regime, which killed roughly 20% of the country’s population between 1975 and 1979. This is Tuol Sleng, a high school that the Khmer Rouge turned into a prison and interrogation center.Phnom Penh 095








Phnom Penh 202



After interrogation, prisoners from Tuol Sleng were taken to Choung Ek, known as “The Killing Fields,” to be executed and buried in mass graves like this one.



Today, millions of tourists visit Cambodia’s temples, including Angkor Wat and many others that are still buried in the jungle.  Siem Reap 2 040Siem Reap 800

With ticket revenues from Cambodia’s tourists, the museum would promote education on the Khmer Rouge, provide space and programs for healing, and help preserve endangered aspects of Cambodian culture, such as art forms, music, food, and temples like this one, all of which are being destroyed by commercialization, tourism, and looting.

Through revival of its rich culture and history, and using the museum’s social and economic empowerment programs, Cambodia would then reshape its identity in a more positive light, laying the past to rest through commemoration and moving on into the future.

Siem Reap 784


All the photographs were taken in Cambodia