Thursday, August 07, 2014

Closing Speech by Samdech Techo Hun Sen at the 5th University Scholars Leadership Symposium 2014 Under the Theme “Dream It, Plan It, Do It”

[August 06, 2014]

CNV: 06/08/2014
Excellencies, Lok Chumteavs, Distinguished Delegates, 
National and International Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen!
Today I am pleased to participate in the closing ceremony of the “5th University Scholars Leadership Symposium 2014”held under the theme of “Dream It, Plan It, Do It“. At the outset, I would like to thank the Humanitarian Affairs UK, the youth and distinguished guests for supporting and choosing Cambodia as the host of the 5th University Scholars Leadership Symposium 2014” held from 1st to 7th August 2014, in Phnom Penh Capital City.

Seizing this opportunity, I would like to highly commend and value the cooperation effort between the Ministry of Tourism, the Union of Youth Federations of Cambodia, the Ministry of Education Youth and Sport, the Ministry of Environment, and relevant ministries-institutions for successfully organizing this 5th Symposium with the participation of promising youth—the young intellectuals coming from universities around the world. I am also very thankful to the national and international guest speakers for having shared your knowledge, know-how, new concepts, best practices and valuable experience in this 5-day Symposium, along with my great appreciation for the dynamic contribution from all national and international participants in a sense of responsibility and in the spirit of sharing and friendship for the development and triumph for all.

As mentioned in the report by H.E Mr. HUN MANY, the President of the Union of Youth Federations of Cambodia, this Symposium is held under the theme of “Dream It, Plan It, Do It”, which is not only the international conference contributing to the promotional campaign of Cambodia’s tourism potentials “Cambodia: Kingdom of Wonder” on the international scene, but also provides the opportunities for the Cambodian youth to exchange knowledge and best experiences with the others, a great chance to understand and communicate between each other, especially to swap experiences with speakers who are well versed in humanity, society, and environment along with new inspiration from well-known and highly experienced professors in the region and the world.

I believe that this event will continue to serve as a platform for Cambodian youth to have better understanding about their roles and obligations in respect of  humanitarian, social and environmental fronts which are valuable contribution to sustainable development, growth and equitable distribution of growth responding to the Royal Government’s policy on “Cambodian Youth Development”, aimed at developing youth to become physically, mentally and morally qualified individuals in a bid to make them become good citizens. This Symposium is also a great opportunity for the youth to build the capacities in on top of will, commitment, and professional conscience.

In fact, this international conference is held in a country that has passed through prolonged wars, genocide and internal divisions for several decades as a result of the outsiders’ interference into Cambodian society and the political ideology of the cold war. In the pursuit of full peace, reconciliation, and harmony witnessed today, this unfortunate territory and nation has passed through enormous and unprecedented losses, suffering and tragedy. To date, even though Cambodia and Cambodian nationals have managed to achieve peace, security, and national reconciliation under the umbrella of single Constitution, King, and Royal Government, but our nation has yet to be able to completely overcome both physical and non-physical consequences, scars and residues left by the prolonged wars and tragedies in the past.

Cambodia has been enjoying full peace, security, political stability, social order, and development of all sectors. In 2013 we achieved the economic growth of approximately 7.6% while GDP increased to more than USD 15 billion and GDP per capita increased to USD 1,036. The 2014 economic growth rate is projected to be 7.5%. This optimistic growth prospect can be achieved through the contribution of all people, in particular youth who are the potential active labor force. In this sense, I highly value this important theme of the Symposium, which clearly reflects the experience sharing of outstanding youth from all over the world as well as Cambodia. The reflection of reality of youth’s life progress and constant social evolution through teaching youth how to be creative and innovative and better understand themselves in the social context while we are all aware that sometimes due to their immaturity, boldness and vigorousness, youth are becoming the objective of political exploitation and victims, made easy by their lack of consideration and easy acceptance of political ideology and irresponsible political propaganda. In this connection, I am delighted to see the maturity of Cambodian youth reflected through their bold activities aiming to support the efforts of the Royal Government and people of Cambodia as a whole to ensure peace, security, political stability, social order, and the pace of development in order for the nation’s progress and prosperity for the Cambodian people from all walks of life.

Overall, the deliberation of the theme of this Symposium enable youth to better understand themselves by starting from being able to initiate and plan to carrying out real activities in any business in the cause of new achievements for individual and social interest. In this regard, youth participation is needed and invaluable for the development of the country. In other words, given the current context we can say that “Youth spearheads change and innovation and they are the strong pillars for propelling countries toward development, progress, peace and social stability“, which requires us to provide them with enough knowledge and opportunity to engage in all social activities, including charitable activities, social activities, economy, culture, environment, etc. On behalf of the Royal Government of Cambodia, I would like to call for all relevant ministries-institutions, national and international organizations, private sector “to work together for youth development and youth empowerment”. In this context, we must consider “youth the core of socio-economic development opportunities” requiring all the youth to be competent and creative to integrate themselves into the new political trends and fiercely competing and rapidly evolving socio-economic activities in the context of globalization.

Taking this auspicious occasion, in a sense to promote youth participation and youth empowerment, I would like to provide the following recommendations:

  1. Increasing opportunities for youth participation in economic development
At present, Cambodia is a country with the largest percentage of young population in the ASEAN region, i.e. around 5 million people, equivalent to 30% of the population, age between 15 to 29 years old, and this number will increase to 40% of the total population in 2020. Given this, I request the relevant ministries-institutions, private sector, national and international organizations to step up the collaboration, jointly strive to improve the job market and youth entrepreneurship and strengthen partnerships with youth from all walks of life by providing education, training and experience to enable them participate in the liberalized job market. In this respect, I would propose the establishment of a movement widely participated by all stakeholders that include public sector, private sector, local communities, national and international organizations, social organizations to prepare youth development program in each entity aimed to provide career orientation for youth to better seize market opportunities, to encourage more active participation of youth in social activities, to strengthen youth’s role and participation in public service, and to provide opportunities for and support youth entrepreneurship.

  1. Improving education and skill development for youth:
Overall, the Royal Government of Cambodia has been focusing on promoting socio-economic development to achieve new progress and high competitiveness compared to countries in the region and create job opportunities for youth from all walks of life. In this regard, I request the relevant ministries-institutions, national and international organizations, and development partners to further contribute to providing quality and effective education and training to strengthen competency, knowledge and skill of Cambodian youth and jointly increase job opportunities to help address youth unemployment. Moreover, we must strengthen and expand skill training program for youth who dropped out of school or failed to complete high school in order for them to have required skill and earn their living.

  1. Promoting professionalization of youth
To this end, I wish encourage the private sector to offer more opportunities to students who are studying in the university or technical training and education institutions to carry out an internship before graduating in order for them to get not only theoretical knowledge and practical skill, but also new opportunity through their direct involvement with the real work environment. In addition, in order to promote professionalism, competence, knowledge and skill on top of what they learn from educational institutions, I would propose the establishment of a permanent platform for sharing knowledge, experiences and success stories among youth in the job market and youth attending educational institutions through the creation of Youth Development Directorate System.

  1. Promoting youth participation in public and social service
In the context of globalization, constantly evolving society and relentless development that require us to take into account the principle of environmental sustainability, youth participation through their knowledge and skill has been playing an important role in the field of environment and heritage. Actually, their contribution to humanitarian activities, voluntary work in communities, preparation of small projects to respond to community’s needs, participation in environmental activities, trees planting, the preservation and conservation of cultural heritage all contribute to the effective protection and preservation of the environment and culture. It is true that youth has a special potential in increasing and creating initiatives, innovation, creativity in new fields with boldness, clear conscience and determination that contribute to economic, social, environmental and cultural development. In particular, I would like to highly commend the Union of Youth Federations of Cambodia for contributing to social, humanitarian and environmental activities of the Royal Government of Cambodia, especially the successful annual organization of “Angkor Sankranta” highlighting the role of youth in promoting and enhancing the values of culture and heritage as well as Cambodian tourism attractiveness. Meanwhile, I call for more opportunities for youth to participate in the provision of public services to local communities through the creation of field trip and encourage youth staff of all firms to involve in social and environment activities through encouraging firms to have their own program for their staff to actively participate in humanitarian, social and environmental activities. In this sense, I call on the Union of Youth Federations of Cambodia to collaborate with relevant ministries-institutions to set up a national volunteering platform for both Cambodian and international youth by supporting the movement of tree planting, environment cleaning, training, experience exchange and provision of assistance to local communities and so on. I believe that accepting foreign volunteers to work in Cambodia is a catalyst for attracting tourists, especially more inflow of youth as volunteer tourists, international tourists along with dynamic flow of domestic tourists. In this context, I deeply appreciate the spirit of this Symposium which has initiated establishment of a common platform for the development of volunteer tourism in Cambodia, which will act as a platform facilitating foreign students or experts to find voluntary works in Cambodia and promoting the development of comprehensive programs for accepting volunteers to Cambodia, especially youth.

Once again, I would like to express my deep thanks to the national and international guest speakers for having shared knowledge, know-how, new concept, experience and best practices in the Symposium. I highly appreciate the lively contribution from all national and international participants in a sense of responsibility, sharing and friendship for the development and triumph for all to this 5-day event, “The 5th University Scholars Leadership Symposium 2014” held in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, I would like to lend my full support to the “Joint Declaration on the Outcome of the 5th Symposium“, which is a common voice of all parties involved especially youth, and is expected to become a roadmap for the development of youth in Cambodia and the whole world.

Before closing, I strongly hope that this Symposium will provide many benefits for the youth to learn and gain knowledge, new concepts, leadership and best practices through presentation of and communication with our well-known and experienced speakers. This knowledge will inspire youth to understand and prepare themselves for contribution to national development in a sense of responsibility and in accordance with the spirit of the youth development policy of the Royal Government of Cambodia.

Finally, I wish Excellencies, Lok Chumteavs, Distinguished Delegates, National and International Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen happiness, prosperity in all your endeavors, and four gems of the Buddhist Blessings: Longevity, Nobility, Healthiness, and Strength.

May I now declare the closing of “The 5th University Scholars Leadership Symposium 2014”.

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