By Jacqui Rawson
The best sum-up of this conference came in a wonderfully unexpected way, when one of the attending students delivered an impromptu poem written by himself and delivered at the end of the event. Delivered in a traditional Khmer way, the poem voiced what the students had learnt at the conference but it also voiced a personal desire to help lead the change in Cambodian society, as part of their role, as the youth of Cambodia.
This was the outcome sought by the PLF. A result of taking the foundation’s urban school students’ learning up a notch from basic school-based education. The conference encompassed general life-skill topics and ideas on how the students can help lead change. The information was delivered by external speakers and their interactive presentations.The first presenter, Mr Phan Keara the Director of Pannasastra University of Cambodia, Siem Reap engaged the students in giving thought to their, post secondary school, future. He touched on how to apply for University sponsorships and how to become entrepreneurs in their own right.
Pisey from the Women’s Resource Center presented on two separate topics; Alcohol Abuse and Domestic Violence. Discussion was centred on the background associated with these current, society wide issues and where to go for support.
Guest speaker, Suyheang Kry from the Center for Peace & Conflict Studies in Siem Reap talked with the students about understanding conflict and the different conflict resolution styles that exist. In her second presentation she touched on the roles of the youth in helping to create a peaceful society.
Sokha, one of PLF’s own media teachers delivered the last presentation on how to avoid the risks associated with the use of the Internet, a growing problem as more students gain access to computers.
Global Studies students from the New School University, New York, here with the PLF for 5 weeks for the fieldwork component of their civic engagement course, helped organise this event. They also filmed a record of the presentations to start building a portfolio for delivery to future students.
A successful event and one PLF intend to repeat in some form, in the near future.