Peter Harris is a New-Zealand independent researcher and philanthropist who has been visiting and researching Angkor since the 1960s, and has published his own translation of Zhou Daguan's travelogue to Zhenla (Chenla).
With a PhD in Asian history from Monash University, an M Phil in international relations from Oxford University, and a BA (Hons) in Chinese from Oxford University, he was before 2000 Director of Asian Studies, Senior Fellow in Strategic Studies, and Acting Director of the New Zealand Contemporary China Research Centre at Victoria University of Wellington, NZ, a lecturer at Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, and visiting professor at Nanjing University, Nanjing, China. Since 2000 he has undertaken long-term civil society assignments in Indonesia, Cambodia, Kazakhstan and Myanmar.
In earlier years he served as the Oxfam (UK) Representative in Cambodia and Odisha, India; head of Asia research at the International Secretariat of Amnesty International; head of the Chinese section of the BBC’s External Services; Asia Program Officer and Representative for China of the Ford Foundation; and founding Executive Director of the Asia New Zealand Foundation.
About his translation and presentation of Zhou Daguan's A Record of Cambodia, its land and its people (Silkworm Books, Bangkok, 2007, ISBN 9789749511244), David Chandler wrote that “Peter Harris has given a new generation of readers a masterly version of Zhou’s timeless and fascinating account that scholars of Cambodia are sure to relish and visitors to Angkor are sure to enjoy.”
Recently, Dr. Peter Harris authored a new edition of Sun Tzu’s Art of War (Everyman’s Library, 2018), and The Empire Looks South: Chinese Perceptions of Cambodia before and during the Kingdom of Angkor (Silkworm Books, Bangkok, 2023. ISBN 9786162151965).