Genocide Activist & Award Winning Filmmaker
Socheata Poeuv is the founder and CEO of Khmer Legacies, an organization whose mission is to create a video archive about the Cambodian genocide, Khmer Legacies has a goal of videotaping thousands of testimonies of Cambodian survivors by having the younger generation interview the older generation. The organization is housed at Yale University.
She was born in a refugee camp on the border of Cambodia after her parents had fled the Cambodian genocide. They emigrated to the United States when she was 2 years old.
In 2007 she was awarded the Echoing Green Fellowship. The international fellowship is awarded to social entrepreneurs creating innovative high impact social change organizations. The foundation receives over 1,000 applications globally each year for the approximately 20 fellowships.
In 2007 she was also appointed a Visiting Fellow at the Yale University Genocide Studies Program. At Yale, Socheata speaks to classes about and works with faculty on contemporary genocide issues and social entrepreneurship.
At 28 years old, she was awarded the 2008 Jewish World Watch iWitness Human Rights Award, the youngest recipient in the award’s history.
Socheata Poeuv made her filmmaking debut with the film NEW YEAR BABY, which won the Movies That Matter human right cinema award (an Amnesty International initiative) on its premiere at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam. The film went on to sold out screenings on three continents and won nine international awards including awards in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, the $25,000 AFI Dallas Target Filmmaking Award and the Crystal Heart Award for expressing “hope and respect for the positive values of life.”
NEW YEAR BABY was broadcast nationally on PBS’ Independent Lens series and was a finalist for the PBS Independent Lens Audience Award. PBS created a 30 city national outreach and educational tour to disseminate the film. PBS went on to submit the film for both Emmy and Peabody Award consideration. She is working with the Open Society Institute to take a Cambodian language version of the film across Cambodia, partnering with human rights organizations.
Socheata left NBC News Dateline in 2007 and previously was on staff with ABC News World News Tonight with Peter Jennings and the NBC News TODAY show where she worked with Ann Curry.
She also co-founded Broken English Productions in New York City and has written for several publications including the Open Society Justice Initiative.
In addition to building Khmer Legacies so that it can complete its mission of documenting the Cambodian genocide, Socheata travels regularly to inspire students and professionals to make a large impact in their communities and the world. In 2010 she was appointed a U.S. State Department Cultural Ambassador to Cambodia, where she was featured in events marking the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the United States and Cambodia.
She has spoken at the United Nations, both Yale Law & Divinity Schools, Northwestern Law School and Harvard Kennedy School among many venues.
Socheata graduated cum laude with a B.A. from Smith College in 2002 and studied one year at Hertford College, Oxford. She is currently pursuing graduate studies at the Yale School of Management.