Elena Lesley

Cohort: 2014


  • MA, Global Affairs, Rutgers University
  • BA, Brown University


Elena Lesley is conducting her dissertation fieldwork in Cambodia regarding the impact of different therapeutic practices to treat psychological distress on survivors of the Khmer Rouge regime, which was responsible for the deaths of some 1.7-million Cambodians between 1975-1979.

Previously, she has spent a combined three years in Cambodia over the course of 13 years. Before joining the department at Emory, she conducted ethnographic master's thesis research on local responses to memorial sites (in both Cambodia and Rwanda) funded by the Council of American Overseas Research Centers. As a Fulbright Fellow and Henry Luce Scholar in Cambodia, she researched, wrote and blogged about the UN-backed Khmer Rouge tribunal for domestic and international publications. Lesley has also worked as a journalist at the St. Petersburg Times/Tampa Bay Times in Florida and for Tunisia Live, Tunisia's first English-language news source. She received her BA from Brown University and an MS in Global Affairs from Rutgers University, where she was a fellow at the Eagleton Institute of Politics and served as Publications Coordinator for the Center for the Study of Genocide and Human Rights. She also worked as a Research Specialist at Innovations for Successful Societies, a center run through Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School.

Advisor: Dr. Knauft