Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Higher education leaders tour US

Higher education leaders tour US

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Top 10 Cambodian leaders in higher education visit three US states through the International Visitors Leadership Programme (IVLP). SUPPLIED

Higher education leaders tour US

With support from the US Department of State, 10 Cambodian leaders in higher education participated in the 10-day International Visitors Leadership Programme (IVLP) in three US states from June 19 to July 1.

They included nine university rectors and directors of higher education institutions who are members of the Council of Rectors of Cambodia, as well as one senior official from the Directorate General of Higher Education at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport.

The primary purpose of the programme is to foster international understanding through the exchange of information and ideas between the people of the US and other countries.

Hor Peng, the rector of the National University of Management, told The Post that he learned from and exchanged ideas with US counterparts during the visit.

“The visit enabled us to build university-to-university cooperation and networks both with US university leaders and individually.

“I am now better able to understand the American and Cambodian education systems. We learned a lot from each other, enabling us to have new ideas to better organise universities for the future,” Peng said.

Weighing how universities are organised in the US, the programme builds leadership capacity, he added.

Thun Vathana, the director of Prek Leap National College of Agriculture, who also participated in the programme, told The Post that the IVLP provided several important experiences.

“There were three important points that we gained from the programme, with the first being the acquiring of a better understanding of the US education system at the federal level.

“Having the opportunity to examine the quality of higher education in the US was also important, as was looking at the administration and leadership of the universities,” Vathana said.

Since 1994, the US Embassy in Cambodia has sent 205 visitors from the Kingdom to participate in the programme, including distinguished guests from parliament, potential leaders in the government, educators, journalists, economists, human right activists and NGO leaders.

IVLP aims to provide better understanding of the US education system at the federal, state and local levels, and examine the roles of universities in research and innovation, as well as how the academic community and industry work together to address pressing social issues.

The project also seeks to provide knowledge on university administration and leadership, as well as how to build a career path in academia to attract more people to the field.

It also explores the roles of communities in school development and outlines how the US teaches and supports incubation, accelerator and start-up programmes.

During the visit, the Cambodian rectors met with their US counterparts and visited a number of professional organisations, while they were also given time for cultural activities and to meet American people.

The IVLP, established in 1952, is the US Department of State’s premier professional exchange programme.

Through short-term visits to the US, current and emerging foreign leaders in a variety of fields experience the country first hand and cultivate lasting relationships with their US counterparts, with the meetings held reflecting the participants’ professional interests.

The IVLP brings to the US approximately 5,000 foreign nationals annually from all over the world to meet and confer with their professional counterparts and to experience the country firsthand.

This year’s programme started in Washington DC with overviews of the US federal system of government, higher education accreditation, education in the US and trends in University administration and leadership.

Speakers from George Mason University, George Washington University, the Council for Higher Education Accreditation and the Department of State discussed each topic.

Public University Research and Innovation Programs in North Carolina, Public University Systems Role of Community Colleges in Supporting Non-Traditional Students, State Funding, Support, and Reforms in Higher Education were explored during the next study visit to Raleigh, North Carolina.

The speakers hailed from Wake community college, the University of North Carolina at Raleigh and the North Carolina legislative office.

“The last four points we learned in North Carolina were about funding, support and reforms in higher education, all of which come from the state budget for higher education.

“We gained experience related to research at the university and the various innovative programmes that the university has established. We also looked at the state university system and the role of community colleges,” Vathana said.

He added that while community colleges mostly helped educate and train non-traditional students, such as older people who did not go to university, younger students also attended to gain qualifications.

The final set of programmes were held the University of Colorado at Boulder, with the themes Public University Research and Innovation Programs in Colorado, Career Paths for Academia, Entrepreneurial Programs, and Contemplative Education and Current Social Issues.

“As in North Carolina, at the University of Colorado at Boulder we looked at various innovations at that university, as well as the student experience related to looking for jobs.

“We also looked at entrepreneurship, which means how the student understands entrepreneurship while he or she is studying at university,” Vathana said.


  • Historic Battambang town bans billboards

    The Battambang town administration informed all house and business owners in Svay Por commune to remove all billboards by August 1 as it is preparing to submit the town to UNESCO for inclusion on its historical cultural heritage list. Its July 25 notice said all signage was

  • All foreigners' accommodations to be inspected: Sar Kheng

    The Ministry of Interior is undertaking a serious effort to inspect all the accommodations of foreigners in Cambodia – except diplomats – in order to find and identify human traffickers. Minister Sar Kheng said this would include inspections on the homes of foreigners employed by businesses, private

  • Ice cream, noodles flagged over carcinogen

    The General Department of Customs and Excise of Cambodia (GDCE) has identified three types of instant noodles and ice cream trademarks originating from Thailand, Vietnam and France that are suspected to contain ethylene oxide, which poses a cancer risk to consumers. The general department has

  • Exclusive interview with Josep Borrell Fontelles, High Representative of the EU

    CAMBODIA is hosting the 55th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) and Related Meetings this week with top officials from the US, China, and Russia and other countries in the region slated to attend and to meet with face-to-face with their counterparts on the sidelines. In

  • Rise in Thai air routes to Siem Reap fuels travel hopes

    Local tourism industry players are eager for regional airline Bangkok Airways Pcl’s resumption of direct flight services between the Thai capital and Siem Reap town on August 1 – home of Cambodia’s awe-inspiring Angkor Archaeological Park – which is expected to boost the growth rate of

  • ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ meet commences, Taiwan issue possibly on table

    The 55th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) and related meetings hosted by Cambodia kicks off in Phnom Penh on August 3, with progress, challenges, and the way forward for the ASEAN Community-building on the table. Issues on Taiwan, sparked by the visit of US House Speaker