Who We Are
After functioning ten years as a joint project of the US-based Khmer Studies Insitute and American Institute of Buddhist Studies, KEAP ( Khmer-Buddhist Educational Assistance Project) became its own legal entity in 1999. It was registered as a non-profit corporation in the State of Colorado under the Colorado Nonprofit Corporation Act and acquired tax-exempt status as a 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable educational organization in 2002 (tax/employer identification number is 84-1498749) with the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS). KEAP is governed by a Board of Birectors and advised by an international advisory council. Its Executive Director is Mr. Bill Scheffel of Boulder, Colorado.
KEAP Organizational Chart (as of February, 2016):
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Origins of KEAP
KEAP's honorary founding patron was the late Most Venerable Samdech Preah Maha Ghosananda, the spiritual leader of Cambodian Buddhism who passed away in March 2007. KEAP began its work in 1988 by videotaping a dhamma talk by Venerable Ghosananda and screening/field-testing the tape in the refugee camps to thousands of monks, nuns, and laypeople. Referred to by many as the "Gandhi of Cambodia" Ghosananda has led Dhammayietras (literally, pilgrimages for the truth) throughout Cambodia since 1992 on behalf of peace and reconciliation, banning landmines, and environmental protection. For his selfless efforts, he was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize four times in 1990s.
KEAP is run by a Board of Directors based in Crestone, Colorado. The Board meets four times a year. Members of the of the international advisory council include Ven. Yos Hut Khemacaro (Cambodia and France); Joseph Goldstein (USA), of the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts; Marcia Rose (USA), a guiding teacher of Vipassana meditation; Dr. Walter Aschmoneit (Germany), a researcher and people-centered development expert; Prof. Padmasiri De Silva, (Sri Lanka & Australia), a Theravada Buddhist scholar; and Prof. Donald K. Swearer (USA), author of numerous studies of Buddhism in Southeast Asia.
KEAP's home office is staffed by Executive Director Bill Scheffel, assisted in Phnom Penh by a volunteer Field Coordinator, Mr. Keo Vichith, a former monk and graduate of the Dhammayietra Center for Peace and Non-Violence.