Dr. Steve Heder has been involved in research and other professional activities on Southeast Asia and China since the 1970s. After graduating from Cornell with a BA in Asia Studies in 1973, he was a journalist in Cambodia during the latter years of the 1970-75 war there, and then reported from Thailand, Laos, and Taiwan. In 1978, he earned a master’s degree in Government at Cornell. During 1979-83, he did research from the Thailand-Cambodia border and inside Cambodia on the political and military situation there, with funding from the Bureau of Intelligence and Research of the US Department of State. He was also a fellow at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok. Starting in 1984, he began working in the human rights field, and has since done so for a total of ten years at the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights, Amnesty International, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and Human Rights Watch, contributing to research and advocacy related to Cambodia, Thailand, Burma, Laos, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, and China. He was a Deputy Director of the Information and Education Division of the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia (1992-1993). He has been involved in the work of the Documentation Center of Cambodia on Khmer Rouge crimes and worked in various capacities for the UN-assisted Khmer Rouge Tribunal for nine years. In 1999, he obtained a doctorate degree in Politics at the London School of Oriental and African Studies and taught comparative South East Asian politics there between 1996 and 2012. Thereafter, as a Research Associate, he has done supervision of SOAS PhD students on subjects related to the politics and international relations of Southeast Asia and China. He is also a member of the Board of the Center for Khmer Studies.
Among other publications, he is the co-author of Seven Candidates for Prosecution: Accountability for the Crimes of the Khmer Rouge and author of Cambodian Communism and the Vietnamese Model: Imitation and Independence, and of various articles in the journals Asian Survey, Southeast Asian Affairs, and South East Asia Research and of chapters in several edited volumes. He conducts research in Khmer, Thai, Chinese, and Vietnamese.