The Nuns of Monkol Won

Willa Schneberg

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At the time these photos were taken, the nuns and monks of Monkol Won Pagoda in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, were cautiously optimistic that the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia might bring democracy to their country. For a number of months in 1992, the nuns allowed us, U.N. volunteers, to set up registration sites in their pagoda for the first "free and fair" election in Cambodia since the era of French colonization, which ended in 1953. Their optimism was rewarded. In May 1993, ninety percent of those who registered cast their votes in the U.N.-sponsored election. Hun Sen, the leader of the Vietnamese-installed government, and Prince Norodom Ranariddh, King Sihanouk's son, would become co-prime ministers.

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