President Profile


Dr. Kao Kim Hourn is currently serving his second term as the Minister Delegate attached to the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia. His professional career has focused on strengthening Cambodia’s international relations particularly in ASEAN, driving policy advocacy, and promoting research and education.

Dr. Kao Kim Hourn survived the Khmer Rouge genocide, and at the age of 15, in 1981, he went to the United States, where he eventually received a Doctoral degree in Political Science from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, two Master’s degrees from Ohio University, and a Bachelor’s degree from Baylor University. He returned to Cambodia in January 1993 to run a think-tank dedicated to ASEAN and international affairs and later joined the Royal Government of Cambodia, where he has served in a variety of capacities for over 25 years advancing Cambodia’s foreign policy and ASEAN integration.

Dr. Kao Kim Hourn has authored dozens of books and articles about ASEAN and played a key role in Cambodia’s acceptance into the now ten-member regional organization in 1999. In August 2022, Dr. Kao Kim Hourn was appointed as the next Secretary-General of ASEAN at the plenary session of the 55th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, and in November 2022 at the ASEAN Summit, all ASEAN leaders supported his appointment. The position will start in January 2023, for a period of five years (2023-2027).

With the mission of providing education to especially Cambodian youths, Dr. Kao Kim Hourn established The University of Cambodia in 2003, which now boasts over 20,000 alumni, and continues to serve as the long-standing President today. To complement that work, he founded two additional think-tanks as well as helped set up Southeast Asia Television and Radio.

He has earned several honors, particularly the Royal Order of Cambodia, the Royal Order of Sowathara, and The Grand Order of National Merit, for his services to Cambodia. He was also awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Public Service from Ohio University in 2007 and an Honorary Doctorate in Literature from the Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology in India, in 2014.

Dr. Kao Kim Hourn is a Member of the Supreme National Economic Council, a Senior Fellow at the Jeffrey Cheah Institute on Southeast Asia, and a Member of the Global Council of The Asia Society. He serves as a Member of the Board of Directors for the Cambodian Institute for Cooperation and Peace as well as for the Worldwide Support for Development. He also has acted as a Member of the Standing Committee of the Cambodian Red Cross. He is married with two adult children who live in Phnom Penh.

(Last update: 12 December 2022).