Asia Institute for Political Economy 2015 By Mr Aun Mengkong

I. Executive Summary
Asia Institute for Political Economy (AIPE) was initially created in 2002, and is currently sponsored by TFAS in partnership with George Mason University and the University of Hong Kong. This year, 65 par-ticipants attended AIPE from 42 universities from 15 countries in Asia and beyond. This year, from July 4th until July 25th, 2015, 8 Cambodian participants from diverse academic and institutional backgrounds partic-ipated in a 3-week intensive summer course on Political Economy, which was coordinated by George Ma-son University in partnership with the Fund for American Studies, at the University of Hong Kong in Hong Kong City. The goal of the course was to engage students in rigorous examinations of the interplay between government and economics.

The program is a unique program that aims to provide students with international academic plenary to engage in intellectual enrichment and discourse in the sphere of political economy. It endeavors to foster stu-dents with the critical understanding of the role of politics and economics in determining a nation’s welfare. In addition, the program also provides students with the prestigious opportunity to engage in cross-cultural communication, global leadership development, network building, peer-to-peer learning, and more, with journalists, corporate leaders, business managers, young entrepreneurs, scholars, and more. After the conclusion of the program, students are expected to have increased their understanding on political economy as well as gained references and pivotal assets that shall benefit them in their future academic and professional careers. Moreover, the program was divided into two parts, political philosophy and political economics.

The first part of the course introduced students to the liberal traditions that create the foundation of the United States and the political institutions the founders developed to secure liberal ends. The second part of the course covered fundamental concepts and theories of political economy. Students examined the structure and functions of a market economy in the context of fundamental issues such as competition, trade policy, fiscal and monetary policy, capital inflows and foreign investment, international financial markets, global-ization, government inventions, and more. Class lectures were developed and given by two professors with prestigious credentials and affiliations: Professor Brandon Turner, Assistant Professor of Political Science from Clemson University, and Professor Nikolai G. Wenzel, Associate Profess or of Economics from Flagler College. There were also guest lectures given by markedly notable figures from their own areas of specialization.

II. Personal Learning Outcomes

Three weeks of immersion into the course allowed us to develop a robust understanding on political econo-my. Described herewith is my personal learning outcome from my rigorous participation in the course:

After partaking in the program, I have accumulated a wealth of knowledge pertaining to political economy. The three-week intensive summer course introduced me to copious theoretical underpinnings of political and economic philosophies that have guided the policy-making process of different bureaucracies in different societies. Additionally, the guest lectures from various professionals have also provided me knowledge on political economy. More importantly, I have also learned a lot from the active interactions with the 65 participants throughout the program.

My future plans to contribute to political economy are multi-layered and inspired by what I learned at AIPE. Firstly, I plan to initiate community service projects through organizations to remedy Cambodia’s economic issues like poverty, inequality, and more. Second, I plan to intern in a government bureaucracy to assist policymakers in creating a confluence of effective and solvent public policy instruments for the development of our society. Finally, I plan to transfer the knowledge I have learned to younger generations that have inter-est in political economy. I sincerely hope that these future undertakings of mine shall install a new model of advancement for Cambodia and expedite a speedy economic growth for the entire nation.

 

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