Ron Abney

"Abney was a political consultant, a graying foot soldier in the army of U.S.-funded advisers that fanned out to the former Soviet satellites in the 1990s to help recast them as multi-party democracies. He had been working in Cambodia as director of operations for the International Republican Institute. Now he lay in Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore, looking at the grenade fragment that had been dug out of his left buttock. It was the size of a marble, but jagged." from A Tragedy of No Importance by Rich Garella and Eric Pape

There is a great book out by Joel Brinkley, who won a Pulitzer Prize for his work covering Cambodian refugees and the the fall of the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia in 1979. His new book is titled "Cambodia's Curse", dad(Ron Abney) is quoted many times in this book and he was interviewed about the grenade attack in 1997. Sadly dad passed away before the book came out. But if you know dad I am sure you know he would have been overjoyed to see his name in print! He would have also been happy to know the story of the Cambodian peoples' struggle is still being put forward.

Thank you to a good friend of the Ron Abney Educational Fund - Bert Hoak for bringing this book to our attention.

If you have ever wanted to know what is happening in Cambodia this is the book. "Cambodia's Curse"
can be purchased online at Amazon.

See Remembering Ron Abney on the Who Killed Chea Vichea? siteRon Abney

Sadly, on December 31st, 2011 at 8:30pm, Ron Abney passed away. We are all sure his spirit is now over all the children of the Takeo orphanage. Ron’s greatest dream was to have all the orphans of Takeo attend university, become productive Cambodian citizens, and then give back to the orphanage.


On December 31, 2011 I lost a dear friend, a comrade who was like a brother to me. Yes, we used to call each other “Brother”. I last met my American brother in May 2011 in Valdosta, Georgia, his home state. We only talked about Cambodia.

Ron Abney was loved and respected by countless Cambodians. He helped train scores of freedom fighters and justice lovers in this country and many other parts of the world. He was highly dedicated, generous and brave. He nearly died with me in a deadly grenade attack in Phnom Penh on March 30, 1997. He was seriously wounded in the attack. The criminal lawsuit we have filed against Prime Minister Hun Sen and his bodyguards is still pending at a court of justice in New York. His passing only increases my determination to find justice for all victims of political violence in Cambodia and to put an end to impunity in this country.

Ron’s spirit and principles will continue to guide me.

Sam Rainsy

Please read more about Ron Abney at Temple News.

Memorial at orphanage in Cambodia

Rest in peace to a wonderful teacher.

Ron Abney, a kindly fighter for freedom, passed away as this new year began. Ron spent many years side by side with the Cambodian democracy movement as an adviser and ally. He was wounded in the 1997 grenade attack against peaceful demonstrators in Phnom Penh, and never stopped demanding justice for those who died there. He founded Voices for Global Change and became a pillar of the Takeo Orphanage in Cambodia. And in the last three years, he served on the advisory board for our film, Who Killed Chea Vichea?. Ron was a man who would chip away at the wall of injustice even if it were a thousand miles high. If all of us did the same, it would fall in an instant. Thank you, Ron.

Johanna Kao

My cousin Ron Abney, of Cochran, GA, has spent more than a decade raising money stateside to support an orphanage in Cambodia that he discovered during one of his many trips there as part of his work with the International Republican Institute. I'm telling you--someone should write a book about his life. He is an absolutely incredible human being.

Ron was raised in a very small town in Middle Georgia where, during his high school years, he was a player on the state championship basketball team. Later, Ron studied journalism at the University of GA and went on to become part of NY Governor Nelson D. Rockefeller's staff in Albany, serving as front man for many of Rockefeller's trips around the world. After that interesting portion of his life, he moved to NYC and served on the Battery Park Project that developed the lower tip of Manhattan. Throughout the years, Ron remained active in political life and has met almost everyone who was anyone in politics in the 70s, 80s, and 90s (you should see his collection of signed photos and Christmas cards from various politicians he has known and worked with).

When he left his career as a civil servant of the State of NY, Ron became involved in the Republican National Institute, an organization that goes into third-world countries to train the populace how to conduct democratic elections. He has spent time in some of the hotbeds of political controversy--East Timor, Uganda, and Cambodia, to name a few. (There's another interesting story you could write about him--he was the only American present at a political rally in Cambodia, where he was almost killed by shrapnel from an explosion linked to thugs hired by the president of the country to maim and demoralize his competitor's supporters).

While in Cambodia, Ron came across an orphanage there, and now that orphanage has become his life's mission. Little children who lived there when he first got involved have now grown up, gone to college, and become productive citizens in their homeland, all supported by funds that Ron and his team of friends have raised over the years. Despite his age (he'll be 70 this year) and bouts of bad health, Ron tries to make it back to Cambodia at least once a year to check on the orphanage, bring them supplies and visit with the kids, who all call him "Daddy."

Ron retired a few years ago and returned to his hometown of Cochran. From his home there, he continues to spread the word about "his" orphanage and raise funds. He is now searching for someone to pick up the reins and carry on his work in the years ahead.


"My name is Sreynuon Ngy. I am a parent less who lived in Takeo Orphanage before. by getting dad Ron support I can finish my study at University, now i work at bank and i tell myself that if dad Ron come to see us again in Cambodia i will show the Certificate to him tell him by my voice that i will not make him hopeless with what Dad done to me. I am so so sad to get this news (of his passing). I don't think at all that dad pass away from us just a short like this from now on, how could i talk to him, he didn't hear yet about what i wanna talk to him. I really really wanna see his face for the last time but it is impossible. Lee, I don't know how to tell you about my feeling now but I just know that i lost my parents since i was nine years old and i don't wanna lost any one who i love any more. He is a SUPPER DADDY in my heart. Even if, he stop living in this world but he lives in my heart forever. Lee, Please you kindly help me talk to him and sent him about my Best Regard."

A letter written by one of the orphans Ron Abney help attend college to Ron’s daughter, Lee Darter after hearing of his passing.