Some 15 students graduated on Friday with a double degree – Executive Master of International Business Law from Belgium’s University Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) and a Master of International Business Law from the Royal University of Law & Economics (Rule) in Cambodia.
It is the pioneer batch of students to graduate with this double degree – a joint programme developed by ULB and Rule.
The two-year programme is said to be so rigorous that of the initial 47 students who signed up for it, 32 dropped out as they could not cope with the demands of the coursework.
Students undertaking the programme specialise in international business law, making it a unique in Cambodia. One student each year is also offered tuition support from Tilleke & Gibbins, a regional law firm with an office in Phnom Penh.
On hand at Friday’s ceremony were the director of the programme at ULB Prof Dr Erik Van den Haute and adviser to the government Dr Sok Siphana, who also serves as the programme’s patron.
Delivering the commencement address, Siphana praised the graduates as pioneers who embarked on an unknown path and encouraged them to never stop learning.
“Out of 47 students who began the programme, only 15 of you are graduating tonight. This proves the rigour of the programme and the hard work you have had to put in during the past two years to earn your double degree,” he said.
Adding to this, Van den Haute compared the journey completed by the graduates to a long voyage in a sailboat, where some students faced gale-force storms and others no wind at all.
Programme director Prof Tom Pearson echoed the sentiments of the other speakers and thanked the graduates for being patient and surmounting the obstacles inherent in the establishment of any new international-standard academic programme in Cambodia.
“I am so very proud of all of you for what you have accomplished and what you will accomplish in your future careers,” he said.
The graduates were Chhay Naroeun, Lun Borithy, Phaing Sovanntola, Khieu Mealy, Phang Monyrak, Khan Sereyvuthy, Phan Chhiengleng, Hiek Dara, Hib West Nareth, Pok Waneth, Naing Youswerithy, Sar Vathana, Ly Chandara, Ing Uykong and Heng Sivmey.