From the Dean’s Desk: We Build Tomorrow’s Leaders!
By Vannarith Chheang, Associate Dean of the Graduate School
The University of Cambodia (UC) has a vision and mission to produce tomorrow’s leaders. This is a very ambitious goal that UC wishes to accomplish.
What kind of leaders do we wish to have at present and for the future? There is no absolute answer to this question and we should not be attempted to do so. However, allow me to explore some of my thoughts on this topic.
Many believe that leaders are generally referred to those who hold authority or official position in order to make decisions and affect changes. In addition, leaders are supposed to have solutions for the problems.
However, this is a misguided perception and belief. It is the myth of leadership. Leaders do not necessarily require official authority to act but are those who could contribute to and make positive changes to his/her community and society through collective or mobilized acts and efforts.
The current global economic crisis is an excellent example. Why can’t top economists and leaders prevent and fix the problem effectively? The simple answer is that the technical experts and leaders always simplify things by generally assuming that people are rationale and market mechanism could fix itself.
But the core issue is that people are not “rationale” rather they are still embedded with their emotions, i.e. values, faith, trust, etc. The main reason behind the collapse of the financial market is “the lack of trust.” People don’t trust each other anymore. There is a loss in confidence, thus people don’t lend capital to each other. Effective leaders are those who could build trust, restore confidence, and build human capital around them.
The global and local environment has changed dramatically in a non-linear and dynamic way. Therefore, we are striving to build leaders who could effectively exert and synergize strength, creativity and talents of the others in order to find multiple solutions to the issues they are facing with.
How can UC nurture students to become inventional , adaptive and LIQUID leaders? To become a LIQUID leader, students must “pour” their lives into others. They must be fluid, pourable, adaptable, and spiritually hydrated! They must be LIQUID.
Like other higher educational institutions, UC is the catalyst for national development.
UC is doing its part in developing a knowledgeable society by promoting quality education and research. UC continues to link the local with the global through student exchange programs. Also, UC has invited guest speakers from all around the region and the world to come and share their experiences and inspiration.
UC’s interdisciplinary curriculums equip students with confidence and knowledge that are suitable to carry their professions in the complex and interconnected world.
In addition to course work, UC encourages students to build teamwork and build relationship among themselves and with the community. Students are encouraged to take part in various activities organized by our school or other universities and organizations. By doing so, we believe that “collective social values” are created.
Mentoring relationship between students, faculty members, and UC staffs are highly supported as it encourages a lifelong learning culture. Students are encouraged to take part in shaping the future directions of UC through constructive feedback to the administration office.
Through all these activities, we strongly hope that we could endow and equip students with “Inventional, Adaptive and LIQUID Leadership” skills which demand for high sense of flexibility, openness, ability to unlearn and relearn new things, ability to listen and reflect, ability to mobilize forces based on trust and human linkages, and ability to inspire and give values to others.
We strongly believe that this kind of leadership will contribute positively to the overall peace and prosperity of Cambodia and the region.