Australia Awards Launch 2012

Ms Penny Richards gave the welcome remarks

“Since 1994, Australia has funded 480 scholarships for Cambodian students to pursue postgraduate study in Australia. Study has covered a broad range of areas, including: health, agriculture and rural development, infrastructure and law and justice”, said H.E. Ms Penny Richards, Australian Ambassador, at the Australia Awards Launch. It was organized on 29 February, 2012, at InterContinental Hotel, Phnom Penh. “These Awards give talented and committed Cambodians from the civil services, NGOs and the private sector accesses to higher education and the opportunity to develop the skills and networks needed to become future leaders in their respective fields”, added Ms Richards.

Minister Ith Sam Heng gave the keynote remarks

In 2012, 50 scholarships will be awarded for Master and PhD (for the first time) study in Australia. Deadline for Application is 30. April 2012. No age restriction. Women working in the provinces outside Phnom Penh, candidates with disabilities were encouraged to apply. For those who want to pursue their study abroad, hurry up to apply. H.E. Mr. Ith Sam Heng, Minister of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation, praised this encouragement for disable candidates to apply. He said that in Cambodia, there is 1.4% (or 192,538 persons) people with disability out of the total population due to civil wars, landmines and unexploded UFOs, one of the highest in the world. Currently, traffic accidents caused many people to become disable citizens. He mentioned also that Australia had awarded Cambodians to study there already since 1950.

VIP guests for a photo

During the dinner meeting, H.E. Ms Eat Sophea, an Alumnus, was delivering a speech highlighting her great experience during 18 months study there, what she has learnt and what she has contributed with her knowledge to her working place. She is currently Under Secretary of State of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and Chief of the Minister’s cabinet. She studied Public Policy and Administration. Those returnees have established the Australian Alumni Association of Cambodia (AAA-C).  “The national and international networks developed between members benefit both their personal life and professional careers”, said Ms Richards. Around 200 participants attended this gathering and I went there on behalf of CEDAC.

Alumni Association as useful personal and professional network

I met also some Cambodian friends and Australian colleagues for small talk and future networking. I, among 20 other Cambodians, have been also to Australia last year, from 08.08-09.09.2011 for a short course on Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM), which is very helpful for my personal life and professional work in the irrigation and water sector. What I like the most from the evening were that age restriction of applicants (before only up to 42 years old could apply) was lifted, women working in the provinces are encouraged and disable applicants are also eligible to apply. If they need care, it will be also provided. It is full scholarship.

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