Sok Siphana

By 8 December 2017

“I do not know the secret of success. But I do know the secret of failure.
The secret of failure is to try to please everybody. Stick to your principles.
Do not try to please everybody. Be true to yourself” Dr Sok Siphana

WHEN the Khmer Rouge cadres told young Sok Siphana that he and a group of nine other Khmer boys had to plant one hectare of rice a day in Kampong Thom, which everybody knew was impossible, he was overheard to mutter: “Why don’t you plant one hectare yourself?” That night, Khmer Rouge soldiers tied his wrists and elbows behind his back, dragged him into a field and staked him to an anthill all night. He knew he would either die or his torture would end; the thought that everything had an end gave him comfort. “In those days, I was willing to die, because death in that case would have been liberation.

I knew if I didn’t die it had to get better. This is where hope comes from. You keep waiting for the day you are liberated. “Life is the same. You have a bad day? Tomorrow will be better. A good night’s sleep will change things.” [source : extracted from the Phnom Penh Post, as part of Henessy Success Story].

Born in 1960, Sok Siphana was the son of a lieutenant-colonel in the Cambodian army, the third of six children. He went to a French school as a young boy. When he was 15 years old, Dr Sok was sent to the Killing Fields of Cambodia where he spent his adolescent life. In 1980, he went to the United States as a refugee. In 1992, he graduated as a Juris Doctor in Law from the Widener University School of Law in Delaware, United States and a Doctor of Philosophy from Bond University School of Law in Queensland, Australia in 2009.

In 1993, Dr Sok returned to Cambodia. Over the years, he has held various prominent posts in the Cambodian government where he was actively involved in the development of trade promotion and policies, the preparation and passing of various commercial laws that are currently in place in Cambodia. He has served and is currently serving in the following capacities in the Cambodian government:

  • Advisor to the Royal Government of Cambodia (2009 – Present)
  • Senior Advisor to the Ministry of Commerce – (2013 – present)
  • Advisor to the council of Development of Cambodia (October 2013 – present)
  • Policy Advisor for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (April 2011 to present)
  • Chairman of the Board, Cambodian Development Resource Institute (2011 to present)
  • Advisor to the Supreme National Economic Council (April 2011 to 2013)
  • Commerce Secretary of State (Vice Minister) from 1999 to 2005

Apart from the Government of Cambodia, Dr Sok has also worked for various international organisations such as the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank in various consultancy capacities.


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