Robert Cooper is a British subject who has lived overseas most of his life in Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Laos. He received a PhD in Economic Anthropology after two years with Hmong villagers in Northern Thailand and Laos. Following publication of Resource Scarcity and the Hmong Response (Singapore University Press, 1984), he was elected Fellow of the Royal Anthropological Institute.
Robert left an academic career in anthropology that included lectureships at Singapore, Chulalongkorn and Chiang Mai universities to join the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. He served with the UN in Laos, Geneva, Malawi, the Philippines, Thailand, Nepal, Bangladesh and Indonesia. In 2000, he became Head of the British Trade Office to Laos. He spent a year in Vietnam advising the government on poverty reduction, before returning to live and write in Vientiane, where he owns the bookshop Book-Café Vientiane and works on increasing literacy among young Lao. In addition to English, he speaks French, Lao, Malay/Indonesian and Thai.
Robert is the author of CultureShock! Thailand and companion volumes Thais Mean Business, Thailand Beyond the Fringe, and CultureShock! Laos. He has also written cultural guides to Bahrain, Bhutan, Croatia, and Indonesia, and three novels set in Asia and the UK.