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The Living Mekong

Cambodia & Vietnam

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Conservation, Water & Development in a Changing Climate

  • While there are high levels of biodiversity in the lower Mekong, conservation efforts are only just beginning and environmental policies have yet to be fully developed. Vietnam and Cambodia, both newly emerging post-conflict nations with growing economies, are engaged in aggressive development. Each country’s path toward prosperity will have distinct yet profound effects on the natural and cultural landscapes of the region and the livelihoods of rural residents. Drivers of environmental change in the lower Mekong—whether urban expansion, tourism, or climate change—will influence the development trajectories for current and future generations. A fundamental focus of this program will be identifying these drivers and ways to mitigate the damage to natural systems while maintaining human livelihoods.
  • Semester Programs

    The Living Mekong: Environmental Ethics and Conservation

    Cambodia & Vietnam
    The School for Field Studies program in Cambodia and Vietnam gives students an understanding of the science behind local issues in water resources, climate change, food production, land use, and biodiversity. Through research, SFS faculty and students will play a critical role in capacity-building through education, benchmarking environmental conditions, and monitoring the rapid changes to natural systems within this vibrant region.
During our first year of programming in Cambodia, our staff and students will be working with local actors and other stakeholders to identify a suite of conservation and development challenges in the region. Together we will define a list of priority issues that SFS can help to address through research, and this will comprise the new Center’s Five-Year Research Plan.

Community reciprocity is at the heart of the SFS organizational and educational model. As an SFS student, you face the real world complexities of issues affecting our host communities. With the results of our research, we will offer data and recommendations that inform decision-makers and build relationships between SFS and the stakeholders involved in biodiversity conservation and resource management.

As at our other Centers throughout the world, SFS is a part of the social fabric of the communities in which we are hosted. SFS students get involved in community volunteer projects and social activities such as:

  • Hosting community lectures or demonstrations
  • Attending community festivals, pagodas, and traditional Apsara dance performances
  • Tutoring or mentoring local children in English language skills or other academic subjects
  • Exploring marketplaces to try unique local foods