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Buddhist university opens $2M facility

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Preah Sihamoniraja Buddhist University (centre) is inaugurated on May 30. SPM

Buddhist university opens $2M facility

Prime Minister Hun Sen on May 30 presided over the inauguration of a new $2 million nine-story building on the grounds of the Preah Sihamoni Raja Buddhist University (PSBU).

The new facility – “Samdech Preah Moha Sangkha Reach Bour Kry”, named after the incumbent Great Supreme Patriarch of the Dhammayut order – is located on the grounds of Svay Pope Pagoda in Phnom Penh’s Chamkarmon commune.

The new building was built through donations from Hun Sen and his wife Bun Rany and family, along with several philanthropists.

Chhit Sokhon, Minister of Cults and Religions, explained that the groundbreaking ceremony of the 45 room building – which features a library, offices and a mock courtroom for law students, as well as classrooms – took place in July last year, in the presence of Hun Manet, deputy commander-in-chief of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF).

Sokhon described the architectural style of the building, noting that it was a blend of contemporary Khmer design and traditional influences, including the temples of Angkor and colonial heritage buildings.

“Construction took just 10 months. This new building is an unprecedented historical achievement for Buddhist studies in Cambodia. It will provide opportunities for students, especially monks, to further their studies. I expect many of them to go on and become pillars of the society,” he said.

During the inauguration, the premier announced that he would also build a dormitory building for students at the university.

“I have decided to offer the monks and students a place to stay. I have asked General Kheng Someth to plan the construction work, and requested that Venerable Bour Kry conduct a Buddhist blessing ceremony ahead of the groundbreaking. It is important that impoverished students are given the opportunity to pursue their studies,” he said.

He explained that dormitories are an excellent way of helping poor students to focus on their education.

At the same time, he also offered civil servant contracts to 28 of the teachers and staff of the PSBU.

“I have decided to approve the proposal that 28 staff members be listed as civil servants. Three monks will also be appointed as university officials,” he said.

The PSBU was known as the Preah Sihamoni Raja Buddhist College until 2007, when it was renamed by the government. The university teaches both monks and laypeople at its four campuses – the Buddhist College of Philosophy, Religion and Law; the Pali-Sanskrit Buddhist colleges of Foreign Languages; the Buddhist College of Science, Education and Literature; and the Buddhist College of Information Technology.


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