By Joe Miller
Class of 2010 graduate Farrah Tek is going to Cambodia.
In April, Tek received the Fulbright Scholarship, which is the largest U.S. international exchange program.
The program offers opportunities for students, scholars and professionals to undertake international graduate study, advanced research, university teaching and teaching in elementary and secondary schools worldwide.
Tek will be heading to Cambodia this month where she will study the effects of victim participation on the Extraordinary Chambers in the Court of Cambodia (ECCC).
While earning her degree, Tek spent four years on UMW’s policy debate team and participated in the James Farmer Scholars Program, working to familiarize more African-American college students with policy debate.
She was also a member of People for the Rights of Individuals of Sexual Minorities and of Invisible Children, a non-profit organization dedicated to ending the civil war in northern Uganda and educating affected children.
In addition, Tek served as a student aide in UMW’s American Studies Department and held internships with Genocide Watch, Animators at Law in Alexandria and Minority Rights Group International in London.
With the Fulbright grant, Tek plans to research the cultural, legal and anthropological impacts of victims on an international criminal court.
The Cambodian government and United Nations created the criminal courts to prosecute leaders of the Khmer Rouge regime, who ruled primarily from 1975-1979. An estimated two million Cambodians lost their lives in the genocide.
“The Fulbright in Cambodia will provide me with educational experiences that I can’t even imagine right now. I will definitely come back with more wisdom and knowledge that cannot be acquired in a classroom setting,” said Tek.
Tek also has more personal reasons for studying in Cambodia, as that’s where her family is from.
“I always wanted to study genocide, specifically Conflict Prevention and Resolution,” said Tek. “I had the interest as far back as I can remember, as a little kid who grew up in a household of genocide survivors,” said Tek.
Tim O’Donnell, Associate Professor of Communication and Director of Debate, said Tek “was an enthusiastic leader and a dedicated researcher [with] a wonderful academic record that allowed her to achieve such a prestigious scholarship.”
When she returns from Cambodia, Tek hopes to become an international attorney with a focus on human rights.
For now, though, Tek wants to leave a mark on Cambodia that would make her family and all of the people she has left behind at UMW proud.