Sok An

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Sok An
Sok An, July 2010.jpg
Minister in Charge of the Office of the Council of Ministers
In office
16 July 2004 – 15 March 2017
Prime MinisterHun Sen
Preceded byPosition established
Succeeded byBin Chhin (Acting)
Deputy Prime Minister of Cambodia
In office
16 July 2004 – 15 March 2017
Prime MinisterHun Sen
Member of Parliament
for Takéo
In office
14 June 1993 – 15 March 2017
Succeeded byChea Vandeth
Personal details
Born(1950-04-16)16 April 1950
Kirivong, Takéo, Cambodia
Died15 March 2017(2017-03-15) (aged 66)
Beijing, China
Political partyCambodian People's Party
Spouse(s)Theng Ay Annie
ChildrenSok Soma
Sok Puthyvuth
Sok Sokan
Sok Soken
Sok Songvar
Alma materRoyal University of Phnom Penh
ProfessionPolitician, academic

Samdech Vibol Panha Sok An (Khmer: សម្តេចវិបុលបញ្ញា សុខ អាន; 16 April 1950 – 15 March 2017[1][2]) was a Cambodian academic and politician. He was Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for the Office of the Council of Ministers from 2004 to his death, and started serving in the Cabinet in 1993. He was a Member of Parliament (MP) for Takéo and a member of the central committee of the Cambodian People's Party.

Early life[edit]

Samdech Vibol Panha Sok An was born in Kampong village, Preah Bat Chuan Chum commune, Kirivong district, Takeo province to a Hakka Chinese Cambodian family.[3][4] He was married to Lok Chumteav Annie Sok An, and together they have five children.


An completed his secondary education in 1967, becoming a high school teacher and in 1969 was appointed as principal of a high school in Kirivong. He pursued higher education at the École Normale Supérieure in Phnom Penh, graduating with a bachelor's degree in Geography, History and Sociology in 1972. In 1972, he earned a High Diploma in Pedagogy. From 1973-75, he attended a high-ranking official training program in Diplomacy at the National School of Administration. In 2006, he was conferred an Honorary Doctoral Degree in Political Science from The University of Cambodia.[5]

Professional career[edit]

In 1980, An served as personal secretary to Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Hun Sen. In 1981, he was named Secretary-General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and in 1983, as Secretary-General of the Cambodian National Peace Council. In 1985, he was posted as Cambodia’s Ambassador to India and, on his return to Cambodia in 1988, he was appointed as Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Then in 1991, he served as Deputy Minister of Interior and as Secretary General of the CPP-affiliated Supreme National Council for the national reconciliation and peace process in Cambodia. Following the general election organized by the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC) in 1993, he was elected to the National Assembly as a Member of Parliament for Takeo constituency and was assigned as Minister in charge of the government office of the Royal Government in the first legislature. In 1998, he became the Minister in charge of the Office of the Council of Ministers. Appointed as Senior Minister in 1998, he was promoted to the rank of Deputy Prime Minister in 2004.

As Deputy Prime Minister and Minister in charge of the Office of the Council of Ministers, he had responsibility over a number of areas. He chaired the Accreditation Committee of Cambodia, a body created in 2003 with the support of the World Bank to reform and standardize the educational sector at graduate and post-graduate levels in Cambodia, as well as to initiate curriculum of the one-year foundation studies for university students. As Chairman of the Council of the Board of Engineers of Cambodia he led the organization through the current period of increasing prosperity in Cambodia. In late October 2012, the Council of the Board of ASEAN Federation of Engineering Organizations (AFEO) conferred upon him the AFEO Distinguished Honorary Fellow.

Sok An was actively engaged in negotiations with neighboring countries to address border issues and the development of petroleum and gas resources in areas of joint control. He also contributed his political intellect to finding solutions with other political parties and currents following various episodes of domestic political deadlock. He also fulfilled many other important duties, such as the Chairman of the Council for Administrative Reform, Chairman of the Council for Demobilization of Armed Forces, Co-chairman of the Council for Legal and Judicial Reform, Chairman of the Cambodian National Commission for UNESCO, Chairman of the Cambodian National Petroleum Authority (CNPA), Chairman of the Board of Royal School of Administration, Chairman of the Board of the Royal Academy for Judicial Professions, Deputy Chairman of the National Authority in charge of Border Affairs and Chairman of the Board of the Royal Academy of Cambodia and also team leader of academicians in the Royal Academy of Cambodia.

Sok An was highly honored in recognition of his contributions to peace processes, international cooperation, and the development of Cambodia, and hence he was conferred an Honorary Doctorate of Law in 1996 by Wesleyan College (Iowa, USA), an Honorary Doctorate of Public Administration in 2005 by Jeonju University (Republic of Korea) and was selected to be a member of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences in 2002; an Honorary Doctorate of Political Sciences from the University of Cambodia in 2006; an Honorary Doctorate of Tourism Management from the National Economics University, Vietnam] an Honorary Doctorate of Public Policy and Management from Chamroeun University of Poly-Technology, Cambodia, in 2007; an Honorary Doctorate of Education from the National University of the Philippines in 2008 and an Honorary Doctorate in Political Diplomacy from Woosuk University, Republic of Korea, in January 2010.

His involvement with Cultural Heritage was long-standing and diverse: as President of the APSARA National Authority, the governmental body that manages the 40,000 hectares of the Park of Angkor inscribed on the World Heritage List, he ensured the values that justified its inscription, and preserved a balance between the needs of conservation and the necessities of development. From the mid-1990s to the year of An's death, with the help of and in coordination with the ICC-Angkor, the APSARA National Authority received more than US$500 million in grants for the funding of some 70 projects from various countries and international communities.

As head of the Delegation of Cambodia, during the 31st regular session of the World Heritage Committee in Christchurch in 2007, An acquired considerable experience in both technical and personal terms through his active participation in the work of the Committee and through his relationships with his fellow Committee members. During the 31st regular session of the World Heritage Committee in Christchurch, in response to the presentation of the portfolio by the Cambodian delegation team led by An, the Committee recognized “that the Sacred Site of the Temple of Prasat Preah Vihear is of great international significance and has Outstanding Universal Value and agreed in principle that it should be inscribed on the World Heritage List” which led to its formal inscription by the Committee at its 32nd session in Canada in 2008.


Sok An's funeral procession in Phnom Penh on 19 March 2017.

Sok An died at a medical center in Beijing on 15 March 2017 from an undisclosed illness, aged 66.[1] He took a short leave of office in December 2016 while seeking medical treatment in Beijing.[6]

An suffered from diabetes and other aliments at the time of his death.[6]

Political career[edit]

In 1991, An served as the Director of Cabinet of the Central Committee of the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) before being appointed as a member of the CPP’s central committee in July 1992, and then being appointed as a standing committee member of the Cambodian People’s Party in January 1996. In July 2010, he was elected as Standing Committee member of the International Conference of Asian Political Parties (ICAPP) Standing Committee at the 13th ICAPP Standing Committee meeting in Kunming, Yunnan province, China.

In September 2014 in Colombo, Sri Lanka, he was unanimously elected to the new position of Vice-President of the Standing Committee and then later in 2015, in Vladivostok, he was elected as the Chairman of the ICAPP Cultural Council. In 2013, during the 4th General Assembly of Centrist Asia Pacific Democrats International (CAPDI) in Indonesia, he was named as Senior Vice President of CAPDI.


  1. ^ a b "Deputy Prime Minister Sok An has passed away, aged 66. - Koon Khmer". Retrieved 6 April 2017.
  2. ^ ppp_webadmin. "Deputy PM Sok An dies at 66". Phnom Penh Post. Retrieved 6 April 2017.
  3. ^ (in Chinese) 二战以来柬埔寨华人社会地位的变化, Zhuang Guotu (庄国土), No. 3–2004, Department of Southeast Asian studies, Xiamen University (厦门大学东南亚研究中心)
  4. ^ "Sok An". Archived from the original on 6 March 2016. Retrieved 6 April 2017. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  5. ^ "List of Honorary Doctorates". The University of Cambodia. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
  6. ^ a b Sopheng Cheang. "Sok An, right-hand man of Cambodia's Hun Sen, dies at 66". Washington Post. Retrieved 15 March 2017.