Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Former Royal Aide Opens Think Tank

Former Royal Aide Opens Think Tank

Former Royal Aide Opens Think Tank

Canberra Foreign minister Gareth Evans has pitched in with Australian $20,000 to

help a former aide to Prince Norodom Sihanouk set up a pro-democracy, non-profit

education, research and training center in the capital.

Julio Jeldres, who left the royal household last year after serving the former monarch

for more than a decade, said the Khmer Institute of Democracy's immediate aim is

to: "Make Khmers familiar with the modus operandi of a democratic government."

A longer term plan would be to turn the Institute-the brainchild of Cambodian exiles

in California-into a "think tank that can help successive governments,"

added Jeldres who is the organization's acting director and a naturalized Australian

from Chile.

Democracy has been an alien concept for so many years in Cambodia and the ll-member

board of the Institute (five Cambodians and six foreigners, to be with the ex-officio

representation by each of the four major political factions, aims to rectify this

by promoting widespread discussion on the topic. Public seminars, workshops and debates

will be major vehicles for propagating democratic ideals and principles, with university

students a key initial target.

The Institute will also sponsor education research to promote democracy as the nation

prepares for its first multi-party general elections in years, and build up a corps

of local teachers to spread the word and foster democratic values at the grass-roots

level.

At the same time the Institute will open up links with other fledgling independent

organizations sponsoring human rights and make contact with political parties-more

than a dozen at the last count.

"Prince Sihanouk approved establishment of the Institute in Phnom Penh on Jan.

16 and on Aug. 12 he gave permission for my appointment as acting director,"

said Jeldres, who held the rank of ambassador when he quit the royal service in December.

Start-up funding has come from different sources in Australia and North America,

including the generous gift from peace plan architect Evans and several thousand

dollars from private donors in the United States.

MOST VIEWED

  • Gov’t not using EU aid for poor

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Tuesday refuted as “baseless”, claims that the government had used financial aid from the EU to implement the programme to identify and support poor and vulnerable people during the Covid-19 pandemic. The prime minister was responding to Roth Sothy, a

  • PM to vet NY holiday dates

    The Ministry of Economy and Finance submitted a letter to Prime Minister Hun Sen asking him to formally set a five-day national holiday from August 17-21 to make up for the Khmer New Year holiday in April that was postponed. Finance minister Aun Pornmoniroth sent

  • Cambodia rejects UN rights claim

    Cambodia's Permanent Mission to the UN Office in Geneva on Friday hit back at David Kaye, the UN special rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression after he raised concerns over the repression of free speech and

  • Snaring may spawn diseases

    The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has warned that snaring of animals has become a crisis that poses a serious risk to wildlife in Southeast Asia and could spawn the transmission of zoonotic diseases to humans. Its July 9 report entitled Silence of the Snares: Southeast Asia’

  • Ex-party leader, gov’t critic named as secretary of state

    A former political party leader known for being critical of the government has been appointed secretary of state at the Ministry of Rural Development, a royal decree dated July 9 said. Sourn Serey Ratha, the former president of the Khmer Power Party (KPP), told The Post

  • Residence cards set for over 80,000 immigrants

    The Ministry of Interior plans to grant residence cards to more than 80,000 immigrants to better keep track of them. The ministry announced the plan on July 10, following the results of an immigration census. “An inter-ministerial committee and many operational working groups have been set up

  • Kingdom produces PPE gear

    Medical supplies from Cambodia have been donated to member countries of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to assist in the fight against Covid-19, said an ADB report published on July 9. The report stated that the supplies were donated as a response to global efforts to

  • Kingdom, US vow stronger ties

    At an academic forum on Saturday to celebrate 70 years of Cambodia-US diplomatic ties, Cambodian researchers and officials expressed hope of encouraging US investments and for that country to deepen and improve its bilateral relations. Held at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, it reviewed the past 70

  • ‘Single Portal’ integrated registration system welcomes nearly 50 firms

    Forty-seven companies have successfully registered via a newly-launched information technology e-business registration platform as of the end of the second week of this month, Ministry of Economy and Finance secretary of state Phan Phalla said. Six ministries and state-run institutions have been integrated into a

  • Battambang artist brings giant animals to life

    The giant reptile’s gaping mouth appears ready to consume its latest victim. It stands taller than a person and is incredibly life-like with authentic colours, a long spiky tail and detailed scales adorning its entire body. If it wasn’t 13m long, you may