The Kampong Speu Provincial Library, in collaboration with the “One Book, One Community” campaign, will hold its first reading competition in Kampong Speu province. Candidates will compete for the chance to represent the province against representatives from the 25 capitals and provinces in a national championship.

The competition will be held on January 13, as part of a campaign to promote the One Book, One Community project, which will run from January 13-15 in Kampong Speu province.

“The deadline for applications is December 31, with applications open to those aged 15 to 30. 100 candidates will be selected for the first round and one winner will be chosen as the Kampong Speu representative,” said a press statement about the event.

Similar contests will be held in all provinces and capitals, ahead of the national championship.

The winner of each provincial competition will receive 600,000 riel, with 300,000 going to the second place challenger. The third place getter will receive souvenirs of the competition.

Sok Lak, co-founder of the Intellectual Library and co-founder of the One Book, One Community campaign, said the competition aims to increase readership within the general public and raise awareness of the importance of reading. He hopes to inspire the potential of human resources at the local and provincial levels.

He added that the reading competition will contribute to cultivating reading habits. It will also be an opportunity for competitors to share views and insights, exchange knowledge and build friendships, as each contestant will meet in the national finals.

“Each of the winners will go on to become a valuable human resource for the nation, and a champion of education, which is one of the pillars a successful country is built on,” he said.

Soeung Sarann, director of the Kampong Speu Library, said that the national winners will also have the opportunity to take part in a study tour to Japan. In addition, this unique event will also incorporate exhibitions and book fairs.

Sarann called on public and private institutions as well as all citizens – especially the young – to support the programme.

“Participants will contribute to the promotion of reading and learning habits, both key points for refining the mind. This will serve as the basis for successful lives, and will give people the skills they need to look for opportunities to bring achievements and honor to the motherland as well,” he said.

The One Book, One Community campaign will run for 25 months, from January next year. It is designed to promote reading among young people in Cambodia through five major events: reading competitions, book distribution, mobile libraries, library development and book fairs.