The Rebirth of the German Alumni Association
The Cambodian-German Association (CGA), an Alumni association of Cambodian students studied in Germany, was founded in 1994. The association has more than 400 members, who spent their time studying and living in Germany during the period of the German Democratic Republic (GDR) and the Federal Republic Germany (FRG) in the 80th and early 90th. From 1980 until 1990, around 100 Cambodian students made their way to East-Germany for vocational trainings and study at universities there, every year. After the fall of the Berliner Wall in October 1989, most of them return home, some stay and live in Germany. From my generation, we were 25 universities’ students arrived in Berlin/Leipzig/Dresden in 1984, half returned to Cambodia after their study.
The association is registered at the Council of Minister and has its existence till 2004. Its objectives were to promote capacity development of former scholarship holders, the friendship between Cambodians and Germans and better cultural understandings between the two nations. It was one of the most active Alumni associations in Cambodia. After returning to my homeland, I become active in the association as formal member and later on Secretary General, from 1996 to 2002. We worked hard to make our joint efforts bearing results for the sake of Cambodian Alumni.
In the last several years, however, we, the former scholarship holders from Germany do not have any association or entity to present and serve their interests. It is actually a shame. There were several attempts to create one again. But, it seems that nobody would take the lead in this renewal attempt. On July 28, 2012; another attempt was made by GIZ (German International Cooperation) to “revive” the Alumni’s network. Around hundred of former scholarship holders and friends of Germany did participate actively and most of the participants came to the conclusion that a “new German alumni association” should be established. The participants elected eleven members of the working group to work on the draft statute for the new entity. Since then, two meetings of the working group were organized to discuss and draft the statute (name, logo, vision, mission, goals, objectives, membership, activities, governance structure etc) for future General Assembly of the association, to be debated and approved. I have taken part in the working group as one of the resource persons and I am optimistic that we will achieve our objectives in the near future.
I think that we will have one German alumni association soon, which would represent the interests of former students and friends from Germany, would boost the friendship and promote the cultural understanding between the two nations. We encourage any contribution from Cambodians and Germans alike to make this new attempt having a better result for us all.