It now marks over a year in a global pandemic that has touched nearly every person in some way or another. Although there is some movement towards “normalcy,” many facets of our lives, including traveling, remain tentative or impossible. This summer, rather than traveling abroad, I am working remotely for Open Development Cambodia (ODC). As pictured above, I am making the most of this Virginia summer weather whenever possible by working outdoors.
Economic development initially came to a standstill at the beginning of the pandemic as countries scrambled to conquer the unprecedented tasks that accompanied the pandemic. However, countries quickly adapted and development has continued in almost every sector. This summer I am focusing on the oil and gas industry in Cambodia which is in its infant stage of extraction.
I wanted to intern with ODC because most of their work focuses on the intersection of economic and social development with legal and environmental issues. After majoring in economics and taking many classes about economic development in undergraduate school, I understand the constant pressure and push by countries to continue to develop which oftentimes detriments social and environmental concerns. I hope to gain a better understanding of this through my research this summer.
My research has multiple parts which started with a collection of all companies and corporations that are investing in oil and gas extraction in Cambodia. I will create a database of different companies and information about each to record who the Cambodian government has granted licenses to, and which foreign countries have interests in Cambodia. Unlike many other countries, Cambodia does not have a very long history of oil and gas extraction which means that each company that receives a license for extraction will play an important role in my research. After completing this, I will start writing a research paper and create a presentation on my findings.
Rather than promoting the oil and gas industry in Cambodia, my work and research will serve as a resource for ODC, citizens in Cambodia, and individuals worldwide to provide objective information about Cambodia and its development. My work will serve the broad goal of ODC which works to impart accurate information about Cambodia and its economic and social development.
Since my research has started, I have gained familiarity with the companies that are investing in Cambodia’s oil and gas industry which so far are exclusively foreign companies. As my research continues I hope to gain a better understanding of the environmental, economic, and social impacts this move towards oil and gas extraction will have on the Cambodian government, the citizens of Cambodia, and foreign powers.