Khuon Det was born in 1972 to a rural family in Battambang, Cambodia. At the time, the civil war was raging and was soon followed by the genocidal regime of Pol Pot and his murderous organization, the Khmer Rouge. At a young age, Det fled to a vast refugee camp on the border of Thailand in order to escape the atrocities. He lived there until the age of 22. It was the “survival of the fittest” in the chaotic camp environment, so he learned martial arts in order to defend himself. In addition to practicing combat techniques and gymnastics, Det participated in drawing workshops offered to child refugees. His experiences led him and a group of friends to create Phare Ponleu Selpak (the brightness of the arts), with the goal of helping youth in his situation overcome the trauma of war. Established in 1994, the association now cares for many children, offering circus, drawing, theatre, dance and music classes as well as a general education. As Artistic Director, he had created dozen of productions and brought on tours locally and globally.
- 2011, Won golden cup of a play entitled “Sokha” from Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts, awarded by Samdech Prime Minster of Cambodia.
- 2010, Director Cup from Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts awarded by Samdech Prime Minster of Cambodia.
- 2006, Gold Medal of National Construction from Samdech Prime Minister, Cambodian Royal Government.
- 2004, Gold Medal of Working from Samdech Prime Minister, Cambodian Royal Government.