Our History

Liger founders Trevor and Agnieszka Gile first visited Cambodia in 2002 and fell in love with the country and its people. Coming from humble beginnings in the Seattle area, Trevor recognized that the opportunities he had did not exist for those in the developing world. He believed that the big equalizer would be to provide opportunities for those who could take advantage of them. For Agnieszka, Cambodia reminded her of her home country of Poland with so many years of oppression and World War II genocide. She was determined to give the children of Cambodia this new opportunity.

Encouraged by the idea that the most effective form of aid is a hand up rather than a hand out, The Liger Charitable Foundation was formed with Liger Leadership Academy Cambodia as its pilot project. In 2009, Trevor and Agnieszka began extensive research and planning to develop the concept of Liger Leadership Academy Cambodia. Attracting a top-notch team of specialists from all areas of education and non-profit development, they created a new type of organization providing resources and guidance for promising children as a long-term investment to help the entire Cambodian society. Liger Leadership Academy Cambodia was opened in 2012 and today hosts 60 students.

The Liger Timeline

June 24, 2023
Second cohort graduate

Liger’s second graduating cohort of 52 students celebrates their graduation ceremony after seven years of hard work, leadership development and growing as a community of change agents

May 30, 2023
Four Liger students selected as Top 500 RISE Global Finalists

Four Liger students selected as Top 500 RISE Global Finalists, submitting project ideas including a template for the Cambodia Youth Climate Change Conference, and  a workshop outline to introduce youth to electrical engineering via experimentation with Arduino devices.

May 26, 2023
Liger hosts "Action Hope" event

Liger hosts “Action Hope,” a full-day event organized and hosted by students, including speeches from H.E. Wathana Sam, and showcasing the unveiling of a full-sized chainsaw tree erected in Mondulkiri’s Keo Seima nature preserve

January 16, 2023
Cohort Three arrives

Liger’s third cohort of 60 students begin full-time on campus with a focus on English immersion, tech skills, and developing the Liger culture.

September 23, 2022
Cambodian Economy Vol. 2 book launches

July 11, 2022
Recruitment of Cohort Three begins

In collaboration and cooperation with the MoEYS at Central, Provincial and District levels, the recruitment of Cohort Three begins

June 9, 2022
Liger organizes and hosts the TEDxLigerLeadershipAcademy Conference

May 27, 2022
Six Liger Students accepted to Generation Future

Six Liger students are accepted to the Generation Future project, funded by UNICEF Cambodia, to work on developing unique programming on topics including oral health, protecting the native Cambodian bee population, and integrating more females into the engineering field.

May 10, 2022
13 Liger Students in RISE Top 500

The RISE Top 500 Global Finalists are announced, and among them are 13 Liger students, who submitted ideas ranging from developing a mental health platform and tackling proper battery disposal, to raising awareness about colorism and decreasing single use plastic.

August 29, 2020
Liger’s first graduating class of 50 students graduates from the academy

August 26, 2020
Samnang invited to attend Indo-Pacific Youth Dialogue Virtual Conference

Liger student Samnang is invited by the US Embassy to attend the Indo-Pacific Youth Dialogue Virtual Conference 2020, representing Cambodia alongside 15 other countries in a discussion of policy writing related to entrepreneurship and economics.


January 11, 2020
Liger is awarded a $1,500 grant from the US Embassy to host the Khmer Literature and Culture Festival, 2020
November 17, 2019
Liger invited to present at the WISE Conference

Education Director, Jeff Holte, and one student invited to attend and present separately at the WISE Conference in Doha.

June 24, 2019
Liger team attend global Technovation finals

The Technovation Finalists are announced, and one Liger team earns a place in the Global Finals, traveling to San Francisco, USA to present their app concept.

June 8, 2019
Liger students win STEAM prize in Hong Kong

A team of Liger students take home First Prize for STEAM Action in the First Ocean Park International Conference and Competition, hosted in Hong Kong.

April 20, 2019
Liger appear in the UK media

Liger’s Director and two students are flown to the UK to be interviewed by various press organizations. Liger founder Trevor Gile and one Liger female student are interviewed on BBC World News

April 7, 2019
Liger Director, Dom Sharpe invited to attend the SKOL conference in the UK
November 25, 2018
LMRT participate in the PEMSEA Conference

Members of Liger’s Marine Research Team travel to the Philippines to participate in the PEMSEA Youth Conference for Marine Conservation

February 24, 2018
Liger Students win VEX Robotics Competition

A team of Liger students is awarded the First Place Champion in the VEX Robotics Competition held in Bangkok, Thailand.

February 1, 2018
Liger Director, Dom Sharpe, travels to Singapore to keynote the Youth Ambassadors Conference
September 12, 2017
Liger Speaks at HundrED Conference

Liger Leadership Academy is selected as part of HundrED’s 100 Global list of inspiring innovations. Our Director of Education, Jeff Holte, is asked to speak as an expert on education at the HundrED conference in Helsinki, Finland and the World Forum for a Responsible Economy in Lille, France.

August 14, 2017
Liger’s partnership with Princeton in Asia begins

July 13, 2017
Liger student Soliday wins First Prize in the NARIT ASEAN Astronomy Camp Competition

July 12, 2017
Liger Speaks at CEE Enterprising Minds Conference

Liger Leadership Academy Country Director, Dominic Sharpe, and Director of Education, Jeff Holte, are invited to the CEE Enterprising Minds Conference in Melbourne, Australia, to sit on the panel on “Disruptive Schooling” with co-panelists Professor Richard Elmore, Professor Philippa Pattison and David Price OBE.

March 9, 2017
LLC Becomes the Liger Leadership Academy

The Liger Learning Center is renamed the Liger Leadership Academy. The Liger Charitable Foundation is reclassified as a public charity and begins operating as the Liger Leadership Academy Foundation

December 3, 2016
A team of Liger students is awarded the Judge’s Award as part of the VEX Robotics Competition in Taiwan.

December 1, 2016
Liger Hosts Ministry of Education Workshop 

At the request of the Minister of Education, Liger hosts 50 Cambodian Ministry of Education officials and school directors for a workshop lead by Liger students. This workshop was held to share the Liger Learning Model and to explore ways to incorporate aspects into Cambodia government schools.

November 15, 2016
Liger Adopts Measure of Academic Progress Testing

Liger adopts Measure of Academic Progress (MAP) international standardized testing for Language Usage, Reading and Math. MAP is a key tool used by international schools as a trusted indicator of student achievement and growth.

November 9, 2016
Liger Diplomas Recognized by the Cambodian Government

Following our MOU from November 2015, the Cambodian government declares in an official government edict that Liger diplomas are now recognized not only in our MOU but embedded in Cambodian law.

August 2, 2016
The Second Liger Class Arrives   

In August, 60 new students arrive to start their first of six years at Liger.

April 21, 2016
Liger student Sreyneang is awarded the Prime Minister’s Finalist Award in the “I Am A Role Model” competition

November 1, 2015
Liger Students' Excellence is Recognized by the Cambodian Government

On November 10, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Ministry of Education Youth and Sport (MoEYS) is signed. This MOU exempts Liger students from national university qualifying tests and allows Liger International and National Diploma holders direct access to Cambodian University.

January 1, 2015
Expansion of the Liger Campus


In preparation for the arrival of the second cohort of students, The Liger Charitable Foundation purchases a plot of adjacent land for expansion and construction begins.

May 1, 2014
Recruitment of Second Class Begins

January 12, 2014
Liger Adopts WIDA

Liger becomes a member of the International School Consortium for World-class Instructional Design Assessment (WIDA) and begins implementing WIDA as its overall system for measuring English proficiency.

August 13, 2012
The First Liger Class Arrives


The first cohort of 50 students arrives on campus. These students were chosen not only on academic accomplishments but also because they exhibited the characteristics of future change agents and embodied the core values of Liger.

December 1, 2011
Liger Campus Opens


January 7, 2010
Recruitment Process Begins


The Liger recruitment team travels to 203 primary schools across Cambodia to interview 12,000 students, test 4,000 students, and select 50 students to receive a full residential scholarship.

August 13, 2009
Construction of Liger Starts


The Liger Charitable Foundation purchases land on the outskirts of Cambodia`s capital, Phnom Penh. Construction on the state of the art Liger campus begins.

July 24, 2009
The Liger Charitable Foundation Formed


The Liger Charitable Foundation is established with its first and founding project as the Liger Learning Center. The organization’s mission is to invest in the education of a promising few who can become impactful change agents. The sustainable education model is built to be able to be replicated anywhere in the world.

January 1, 2006
Charitable Research and Outreach Begins


Trevor and Agnieszka decide to invest in the youth of developing countries as a method to creating positive and lasting change. Cambodia is selected as the first investment.

January 1, 2002
Trevor And Agnieszka’s First Trip To Cambodia


Our founders, Trevor and Agnieszka Gile, first visit and fall in love with the country and its people.

The Liger Charitable Foundation was founded in July 2009 as a private foundation under 501(c)(3). In May 2017, it received approval from the IRS to be treated as a public charity looking back to January 2012. In August, it applied for a D/B/A as Liger Leadership Academy Foundation.