Vannarith was raised by a single mother in a rural village in Cambodia (Stoung district, Kompong Thom province).
He obtained his higher education through various scholarships and fellowships – BA in International Relations from the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam in 2002, MA in International Relations from the International University of Japan in 2006, Graduate Certificate in Leadership from the East-West Center in the United States in 2008, and PhD in Asia Pacific Studies from the Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University (APU) in 2009.
Vannarith was honored a Young Global Leader by World Economic Forum in 2013. He was also a Southeast Asian visiting fellow at the East-West Center in Washington in 2010, Visiting Research Fellow at the Institute of Developing Economies (IDE-JETRO) in Tokyo (2012-2013), Asia Public Intellectuals fellow of the Nippon Foundation (2013-2014), Visiting Scholar at the China Institute of International Studies (CIIS) in Beijing (2016), Visiting Fellow at ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute in Singapore (2017).
Currently, Vannarith is Associate Fellow at ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute, Co-Founder and Chairman of the Mekong Center for Social Innovation, Co-Founder and Vice-Chairman of the Cambodian Institute for Strategic Studies (CISS), and Senior Fellow and Board Member at the Cambodia Institute for Cooperation and Peace . He was previously a Southeast Asia Consultant at the Nippon Foundation, a lecturer of Asia Pacific studies at the University of Leeds from 2013 to 2016, and served as Executive Director of the Cambodian Institute for Cooperation and Peace from 2009 to 2013.
His research interests include international political economy, regional integration, security cooperation, governance, social innovation, with a focus on Southeast Asia.
Feature in China Daily (page-32-vannarith-chheang)
Top 10 Asia : An Inspiring Scholar Endeavour (Link)
New Dean Brings Fresh Perspective to UC (Linkhttp://www.uc.edu.kh/UCBulletin/From_the_Dean_Desk.htm)
Feature in the Phnom Penh Post (link)