Khen Chen, who retired in 2007, says of her 45-year career, "I'm very proud of working for VOA Khmer, there was something new every day, it was a blessing."
In her first years, Chen says, nearly every newscast by the Khmer Service was dominated by U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War. In 1975 the Khmer Rouge seized power and VOA reported on the darkest days of Cambodian history, the genocide and starvation that left from one to three-million people dead, a period that saw the birth of the term, "killing fields."
Chen was a student at an all-girls high school in Phnom Penh, Cambodia when she spotted a job advertisement for Voice of America in 1962 and began a life-long career broadcasting to her homeland.
During a guest appearance by Chen on Monday's Khmer radio show, listeners called in thrilled to hear her voice back on the air. "Ang Khen (Chen's on-air name) is such a well-known personality," said show host Sothearith Im, "it is wonderful that she is able to celebrate with us."
Although the service first went on the air in August of 1955, it was dropped after several months and reintroduced again in 1962. Since then, VOA Director Danforth W. Austin says, "the Khmer Service has continuously served as a source of trustworthy information on the region and the world to Cambodians." Today the staff reaches millions of people through radio, television and the internet.
Visit the Khmer English-language website at http://www1.voanews.com/khmer-english/news/. For Khmer, go to http://www1.voanews.com/khmer/news/.
(VOA Press Release)