@UC: News & Events at the University of Cambodia

December 2007


A Successful Day of Debating for University of Cambodia 

Visitors from Ohio University 

Dr. Alan and Mrs. Sandy Geiger

Dr. Greg Emory

Dr Handa Diplomatic Lecture Series 

1.    Cambodia’s Economic Future in a Globalizing World

2.    The Idea That Is America: A New View of America in the World

3.    Reflections on ASEAN: Achievements and Challenges 

4.    Why the European Union is ‘Asian’

New Sessions started at the Centre for English Studies 

The University of Cambodia Holds her First Christmas Party


A Successful Day of Debating for University of Cambodia 

On Friday November 30th, the Ministry of Environment and TVK co organized a Youth Debate Contest on the subject of Increasing Climate Change. Additional sponsorship was provided by the UNDP. Taking part were debating teams from the Royal University of Phnom Penh (RUPP), the Royal University of Agriculture (RUA) and the University of Pannasatra Cambodia (PUC), as well as a team from University of Cambodia.  


RUPP and PUC debated on whether Climate Change is the Result of Human Actions or Activities. RUPP, speaking in support of the motion, won through to the final. 


UC and RUA were set to speak on the motion The Solution of Increasing Global Warming is the Problem or Responsibility of Industrial Countries. UC’s defence of the proposition won them through to the final. 


The final involved UC and RUPP debating whether Cambodia Should Not Necessarily be Concerned With Climate Change. The panel of judges, all experts from the Ministry of Environment and UNDP, considered both teams to be equally matched and were unable to call a final decision, instead declaring a draw.


A very special vote of thanks and a huge round of applause go to our debating team for their outstanding performance. Our team members are Lim Srey Sros, Heng Kanal, Heng Chakriya and Lim Song Nay.


Further thanks go to Ms Gina Lopez, Dr Y Ratana, Mr. Ing Keriya and to the students of U.C. who showed their support on the day.


Visit of Dr. Alan and Mrs. Sandy Geiger

UC was most pleased to host Dr. Alan Geiger and his wife for two weeks. Dr. Geiger was the assistant to four past Presidents of Ohio University, and he and his wife came here to give us the benefit of their vast experience as we prepare for the migration to our new campus two years hence. Dr. Geiger also gave a talk on 'Cambodia's Quest for Quality Education: An American View', on 28th November.  


Visit of Dr. Greg Emory

We were most pleased to welcome back Dr. Emory once again for further consultations and advice about our Leadership and Career Development Centre (shortly to be split into two separate entities), under the support of a Fulbright Scholarship. Dr. Emory is another of our fruitful contacts with Ohio University, where he is Director of the Global Leadership Centre. 


Dr Handa Diplomatic Lecture Series

We are honoured to have hosted speakers for four different talks on Cambodia and the world, as part of the Dr. Handa Diplomatic Lecture Series. 


(1) Cambodia’s Economic Future in a Globalizing World: Dr Jebamalai Vinnarachi and Dr Raja Rasiah 


On Wednesday December 12th, the University of Cambodia was proud to host further presentations in the prestigious Dr Handa Diplomatic Lecture Series. U.C. President Dr Kao Kim Hourn introduced the two keynote speakers to a sizeable and appreciative audience of students, staff and members of the public at the University’s Conference Center.


As well as being the Special Envoy to the UNIDO Secretary-General in Geneva, Dr Jebamalai Vinnarachi has a lifetime of international experience examining the relationship between a nation’s technological capacity and economic success. 


Dr Vinnarachi’s presentation took a global perspective and provided salient examples of developing nations that had made globalization work for them, despite apparently inauspicious conditions. These examples included the Indian motor industry that, because of the introduction of competition, is now producing the nation’s first completely indigenously manufactured car. The second example described Saudi Arabia’s purchase of cutting-edge technology industries with the proceeds of oil revenue. 


Dr Vinnarachi suggested that these developments were possible because governments divested themselves of sole responsibility for economic development. Through a process of privatization and deregulation, government became a partner of industry, rekindling growth and fostering the spirit of dynamic entrepreneurship. Furthermore, these nations were not so much concerned with innovation, but with the enhancement of manufacturing and service activities that might readily be found elsewhere. A developing nation’s success then rests upon it’s willingness to embrace rapid change (as was the case with India’s motor industry), the availability of a technically literate population (a major factor in the U.S.A.’s and later, Japan’s economic success) and the ability to respond to the world’s demand for cheap, high quality goods (which explains China’s economic growth). 


The evening’s second speaker was Dr Rajah Rasiah, Professor of Technology and Innovation Policy, Faculty of Economics and Administration at the University of Malaya in Malaysia. With a long and impressive list of scholarly publications to his name, Dr Rasiah focused on the impact of transnational corporations and intellectual property rights on domestic industrial performance and efficiency. 


In doing so, he introduced the audience to the Systemic Quad Model that describes a nation’s capacity for economic development. Under this model, a developing nation’s economy is characterized by its differentiation and division of labour, its ability to upgrade its products and add value and finally, its ability to create new firms, processes and products.


A Least Developed Nation’s ability to initialize this economic process rests upon the synchronized performance of four key pillars of social evolution. 


The first of these is the existence of basic infrastructure such as water and electricity supply, healthcare and transport links.


Secondly, the nation should aim to develop a science and technology infrastructure that includes institutions to drive learning and innovation, technology diffusion, licensing, training and R&D. 


Next integration in global markets and value chains increases scope and scale at the same time as exposing the economy to healthy competition. 


Finally, Network Cohesion – the almost infinite variety of communication between economic player and society - promotes connectivity and coordination whilst encouraging interactive and interdependent social capital. 


Dr Rasiah concluded his presentation with a call for the establishment of a National Foundation for Industrial Competitiveness and Innovation, a measure that Dr Kao agreed with whole-heartedly. 


Our heartfelt thanks go to Dr Jebamalai and Dr Rasiah for giving us a valuable and stimulating discussion, as well as for the opportunity that they took to answer the many questions posed by the audience after the presentation. 


(2) The Idea That Is America: A New View of America in the World:  Professor Anne Marie Slaughter (Dr Handa Diplomatic Lecture Series)


The University of Cambodia was delighted to host Professor Anne-Marie Slaughter on the evening of Thursday 13th December. Professor Slaughter is Dean of Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs; as well as being a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and also of the Council on Foreign Relations, and a former President of the American Society of International Law. 


Professor Slaughter believes the identity of the U.S.A. is based on seven values, though at certain points in the nation’s history, one or more of these ideals have been obscured. 


The first of these values is Liberty. Professor Slaughter defines liberty in terms of order and conformity to the Rule of Law, rather than the libertarian anarchy that would result from the absence of all law.  Theoretically and to an extent practically, the U.S.A. has done much to promote the Rule of Law through her involvement in international treaties and the United Nations. 


Nevertheless, America’s prosecution of “War on Terror” has produced a number of well-publicized and deeply regrettable incidents. Professor Slaughter believes these to be a result of America’s desire for greater security, purchased by the devaluation of one of the nation’s key ideals. 


The second of America’s values is a belief in democracy. This has not always been the case; indeed, the nation’s Founding Fathers feared the concept, as they believed the rights of the wealthy minority would be destroyed by pure democracy’s drive to cater for the needs of the less well-to-do majority. Over time, the familiar republican form of U.S. government evolved, until, speaking fifty years after Independence, Daniel Webster, politician, orator and member of Congress, was able to declare, “Men can govern themselves”.  


In the spirit of altruism and faced with numerous examples of despotic rule in old Europe, America wished to see the republican form of government adopted across the world. Professor slaughter suspects that it is in part due to this same spirit that America now finds itself so painfully involved in the Middle East. 


For the sake of brevity, Professor Slaughter passed quickly over the values of justice, equality and tolerance; suffice it to say they remain embedded in the nation’s soul. As proof, the most cursory glance at the U.S. reveals a history studded with examples of minorities and the disenfranchised gradually acquiring the full range of rights commonly associated with citizenship. 


Next, Professor Slaughter turned her attention to America as a nation guided by humility. Given the novelty of the republican form of government, the nation’s Founding Fathers were deeply concerned with learning from and rectifying their mistakes. For instance, President Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address of November 1863 restated the principle that the nation was:  


…dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure.


The soul of twenty first century America retains its capacity for continued development and self-improvement. True, issues such as weapons of mass destruction and the nation’s response to climate change appear to contradict Professor Slaughter’s assertions. Nevertheless, these qualities are never completely obscured, remaining embedded in the fabric of society and awaiting less traumatic times to find their full expression. 


Lastly, professor Slaughter turned her attention to America as a land of faith. The first northern European settlers were driven to colonize the land because of religious persecution in England, with Puritans and Catholics establishing the first western colonies in Virginia and Maryland. Subsequent waves of immigration produced a diverse society in which all the world’s major religions were represented. This pluralistic society is represented abroad by a foreign policy that recognizes all of the World’s faiths. 


Professor Slaughter concluded her presentation with the assertion that the values traditionally associated with America have not been lost, despite appearances. The early twenty first century has not provided the best of environments for the expression of this gentler, more liberal side to America’s personality, yet the values remain and continue to direct the form of the Nation’s progress.


All at the University of Cambodia are very grateful to Professor Slaughter for providing us with this thought provoking insight into the personality of the U.S.A., as well as for the question and answer session at the end of the presentation. 


(3) Reflections on ASEAN: Achievements and Challenges: His Excellency Ong Keng Young, Secretary General of ASEAN (Dr Handa Diplomatic Lecture Series)


The afternoon of Friday 14th December saw His Excellency Ong Keng Young, outgoing Secretary General of ASEAN, pay a welcome visit to the University of Cambodia. Mr. Ong was Singapore’s high commissioner to India and Ambassador to Nepal prior to working for the Prime Minister of Singapore. He assumed the post of Secretary General, based at the ASEAN Secretariat in Jakarta, in January 2003. 


Whilst visiting U.C., His Excellency delivered a presentation for the Dr Handa Diplomatic Lecture Series, packed with the insights that he is uniquely qualified to make. His subject was Reflections on ASEAN: Achievements and Challenges. 


Formed on 8th August 1967, this is ASEAN’s fortieth anniversary and His Excellency introduced the topic with an overview of what the Association has achieved in this time. Of primary importance is the continued existence of the Association and its ability to promote an orchestrated regional response to global changes. If the Association is to continue its work, it is vital that it continues to communicate its aims to each successive generation. 


Next, His Excellency examined forty years of diplomatic achievement for ASEAN. For instance, ASEAN helped stabilize relations between Cambodia and Vietnam, gaining valuable experience in practical diplomacy in the process.  Furthermore, since joining in 1999, ASEAN has helped promote Cambodia to the world as a manufacturer of cheap, high quality clothing and as a tourist destination. His Excellency also highlighted the role of the ASEAN Regional Forum, tasked with examining border security, sustaining relationships with the world’s major powers and regulating shipping and trade. In the twenty first century, the forum has been active in the fields of anti terrorism, disease prevention and natural disaster relief. 


His Excellency expanded on the theme of diplomatic communication to include the entire East Asian region. The East Asia Summit, comprising the ten ASEAN members plus China, Japan, Korea, India, Australia and New Zealand has played a significant role in furthering regional understanding. In 1997 – 8 Financial Crisis, ASEAN was able to reduce the impact by encouraging moderation in the behavior of the region’s currency speculators. The grouping is also stimulating Free trade Zones, with the potential for an area stretching from Europe to Korea to be free from trade tariffs.


Next, His Excellency turned his attention to the challenges facing ASEAN over the next decades. Political understanding, economic integration and cultural exchange all rest upon the foundation of a narrowing development gap. Narrowing this gap depends upon the creation of more jobs in the region by measures such as developing the region’s export infrastructure, and promoting the concept of the global marketplace. 


ASEAN is an intergovernmental entity, where each of the grouping’s governments retains complete autonomy. In this respect, it is unlike the European Union, which is supranational, leaving individual governments little scope for adjustment. In narrowing the development gap then, ASEAN members cooperate in an economic environment that currently lacks standardization. Energy and potential is spent in areas such as border security for example, energy that would be better reinvested in education or infrastructure development. 


This then is ASEAN’s supreme challenge – to create a regional environment wherein the economic, social and cultural aspirations of each nation may reach their fullest expression.


His Excellency’s presentation was followed by a brief question and answer session. Topics included relations between ASEAN and Myanmar. Working in conjunction with the U.N. ASEAN’s approach has been characterized by her willingness to encourage change through continued dialogue. A subsequent questioner asked about ratification of the ASEAN Charter. His Excellency responded that ratification was quite possible within twelve months, but disagreements over Myanmar were delaying the process. Lastly, His Excellency took the opportunity to correct some misconceptions about the ASEAN-X and apparent advantages enjoyed by rich members over poorer members. In reality, these apparent advantages are a product of a nation’s overall financial ability and social preparedness to agree with ASEAN suggestions, rather than signs indicating the existence of a wealthy clique operating in the group. 


Dr Kao, President of the University of Cambodia, thanked His Excellency, Ong Keng Young for his fascinating insights into the workings of ASEAN. The audience echoed his appreciation with a warm round of applause, and a most profitable afternoon of discussion concluded.


(4) Why the European Union is ‘Asian’: Dr Andrew Moravcsik (Dr Handa Diplomatic Lecture Series) 


On the evening of Friday 14th December, the University of Cambodia was proud to host Professor Andrew Moravscik, Professor of Politics and International Affairs and Director of the European Union Program, who is in Cambodia to learn more about the workings of ASEAN and compare his findings with what is known about the organization of the European Union (E.U.) 


According to the Professor, the world’s great powers – China, India and the U.S.A. - are apt to leave Europe out of their equations. This is a great mistake, as Europe is becoming increasingly unified, powerful and better able to project its interests in a globalizing environment. Europe can claim a population of 728 million, a single currency, common border and trade policies plus100 million troops ready to back up her diplomatic influence. All of this is very attractive to other nations and Europe looks set to expand still further.


Professor Moravcsik believes that in popular opinion, ASEAN appears to differ from this European model in a number of significant ways. Firstly, ASEAN is not such a politically integrated grouping, as illustrated by the diplomatic difficulties surrounding Myanmar and her neighbours. In contrast, popular opinion perceives Europe as a politically integrated supranational entity. Secondly, ASEAN members prefer a more consensual approach to problem solving, one where hierarchy is not as important as the willingness to save face. As the Professor went on to point out, this approach might be used to describe the European approach to problem solving with equal accuracy. 


However, rather than examine ways in which ASEAN appears to differ from the European Union, Professor Moravscik went on to identify the habits and practices that make the E.U. similar to ASEAN.


As is the case with ASEAN, the majority of European Union decisions are the product of consensus. Like the members of ASEAN, the European Nation States that constitute the Union have retained control of internal matters such as culture, taxation, energy policy, border controls and infrastructure development. In addition, like ASEAN, the central purpose of the E.U. is to foster a global environment where international business opportunities may be exploited with a minimum of bureaucratic interference.


The European Union has conditioned new membership on the applicant nation having respect for human rights. ASEAN does not have such conditions attached to membership and yet both groups have experienced internal friction because of human rights. The presence or otherwise of laws intended to act as moral gatekeepers has made no difference. Both groups however have followed similar paths in attempts to resolve these problems, preferring diplomacy to provocation. 


Lastly, Professor Moravscik underlined the similarities that exist in the way the two organizations make and implement decisions. In both organizations, the Council of Ministers makes policy, based on wide discussion and consensus, rather than policy created after a simple tally of votes cast by Euro M.P.’s or their equivalent ASEAN representatives.  For both organizations, the implementation of laws is left to national courts, as there are no supranational mechanisms to enforce these laws on individual member states. 


After his presentation, Professor Moravscik had time to answer a number of questions from the audience. The first questioner was concerned with how Europe perceives an economically energetic Asia. The Professor replied that Europe was more than happy to engage in a region where political stability gives rise to economic prosperity. 


A subsequent question asked if there were any plans for Europe to become a completely unified nation like the U.S. Professor Moravscik believed that there were no such plans and that Europe would prefer to remain an international trade organization. At this point Dr Kao mentioned that a similar situation existed with regard to proposals for a stronger ASEAN Union. Members preferred to belong to a looser community of nations, rather than one geopolitical entity.


Another questioner wondered what organizational model ASEAN would adopt. The Professor replied that rather than creating an inflexible set of rules to govern the group’s activities, ASEAN would probably respond to specific challenges with specific policies.


With that, Professor Moravscik concluded his presentation. There followed an exchange of gifts between the Professor and Dr Kao and a warm round of applause from an enthusiastic audience. 


The University of Cambodia extends its very warmest thanks to Professor Moravscik for a most enlightening discussion. We wish both him and his wife, Professor Anne-Marie Slaughter a pleasant and rewarding time during the remainder of their visit to the region. 


New Sessions started at the Centre for English Studies


The University of Cambodia Holds her First Christmas Party

On Sunday, December 21st, the University of Cambodia held her first Christmas party in the friendly and familiar surroundings of the covered courtyard in front of the Center for English Studies. 


The evening of fun, dance, games and song got underway with a speech of welcome from our President, Dr Kao Kim Hourn. He took the opportunity to thank all present for their hard work and made note of some of the splendid achievements of the past year. He was also able to provide the partygoers with an indication of plans for the future, referring to the new campus and the introduction in 2008 of the university’s television station. 


Having received Dr Kao’s blessing, it was time for the fun and games to start in earnest. The evening’s events were graced by the presence of not one, but two old, fat, bearded gentlemen dressed in red and handing out gifts to all. Their happy task completed, there followed a wonderful afternoon and evening of entertainment.  The spirit of joyful misrule was kept in check by the good offices of a fantastic team of MC’s, namely Borey, Sokhom, Sokhen and Chakrya. 


Highlights of the event included some very impressive dramatic performances from students of CES who wrote and performed in their own comic sketches, much to the delight of the excited audience. Our thanks go to CES Instructors Mr. Sopheak and Miss Davy for their mighty contributions here.


As if comic sketches were not enough, there were also numerous displays of dancing from our hugely talented students. The quality of their performance was outstanding and it seems tomorrow’s stars are today’s hard working U.C. Students. 


With a Speaking Contest, a Singing Contest, an excellent dinner and countless games, the evening really was a fun packed success for all. Our thanks go to all who were involved in organizing the party, with a special note of gratitude to U.K. Bookshop who provided some of the prizes. 


Ways You Can Give to UC

Invest in higher education and the future of Cambodia, through a gift to the University of Cambodia. UC offers a number of ways to contribute to university development. Fund a scholarship or program, contribute to the Endowment, donate some books, or volunteer your time. For more information on how you can give to the University of Cambodia click here.


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