Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - ‘A long road if we don’t walk together’




‘A long road if we don’t walk together’

‘A long road if we don’t walk together’

Dear Editor,

It has been 25 years since the signing of the Paris Peace Agreement. Peace remains a fragile one in Cambodia. As one of the beneficiaries from the agreement, and in my role now as director of the Documentation Center of Cambodia, I would like to highlight the work of the Anlong Veng Peace Center and its contribution to the peaceful process. Peace will remain to be a long road for all Cambodians if we don’t walk together.

The Anlong Veng Peace Center is dedicated to memory, reconciliation and peace building, and it achieves these objectives through peace studies and genocide education. Peace studies represent the Center’s effort to identify and analyse violent and nonviolent behaviours as well as structural mechanisms that precipitate conflict. Genocide education represents the centre’s effort to establish curricula that address the fundamental questions of what happened and why during the Khmer Rouge period. Both educational approaches are utilised with a view towards encouraging peace, education and the rule of law.

The Center’s new headquarters office is situated in Anlong Veng – the last stronghold of the Khmer Rouge regime. Working closely with the local community, schools and tourism officials, the centre looks forward to bridging the divide between the former Khmer Rouge and Cambodia’s younger generation. The intent of the centre is to provide a variety of educational and tourism-related programs that help preserve the oral and physical history of the region as well as building peace and reconciliation between generations and across social divides.

The centre not only aims to provide a critical understanding of Cambodia’s violent history, but it also seeks to convey a basic understanding of different theories on conflict resolution and transformation. Using its new office space as a headquarters, the centre will meet its objectives through future programs centring on interactive discussions, guided tours of local historical sites and a curriculum that uses individual stories to convey historical and moral lessons. The tours will be rehabilitative to victims and former Khmer Rouge cadres in that they will provide victims and former cadres an opportunity to reflect on and impart their understanding of their experiences during the Democratic Kampuchea period and the civil war years (1979-1998) that followed.

Through face-to-face discussions with victims and former Khmer Rouge cadres, the program will challenge participants to contemplate the diversity of human experience (both instances of humanity and inhumanity) during times of conflict and social upheaval. The stories validate the significance of individual human beings, and they help foster the most basic components of conflict transformation and civic skills.

Concepts such as the ability to reflect, think objectively and empathise with others are cornerstones to any peaceful, democratic society. The project will focus on historical empathy as its core objective, and the students, teachers and tour guides who attend the program will be responsible for serving as representatives in their local communities, sharing their learning and insights.

The establishment of the Anlong Veng Peace Center in Anlong Veng represents a start of the Center’s work towards its mutually reinforcing aims of Peace, Education, and Sustainable Tourism. Through these core objectives, the Center aims to become a leading institution for the development of sustainable approaches to achieving reconciliation and peace in Cambodia and the region.

Youk Chhang
Director, Documentation Center of Cambodia

MOST VIEWED

  • School reopening to be postponed until November

    Minister of Education Hang Chuon Naron on Tuesday wrote to Prime Minister Hun Sen requesting a delay of school reopening across the Kingdom until November, when the new academic year begins. In his letter, Chuon Naron said the postponement is warranted to avoid the new

  • Foreigners in Kingdom must now register in FPCS system

    The Ministry of Interior’s General Department of Immigration (GDI) announced that it would not grant visa extensions to foreigners staying in Cambodia if their names are not listed on the Foreigners Present in Cambodia System (FPCS) by July 1. Foreign nationals can register in the

  • Covid-19 at ‘alarming rate’, health ministry says

    The Covid-19 risk level for individual transmission is at an “alarming rate” in the Kingdom and its probability is “not low”, warned Health Ministry spokesperson Or Vandine. “Cambodia’s coronavirus scenario is classified as being at an early stage of the pandemic because of ongoing

  • Mandatory quarantine for 30,000 workers begins

    Some of the roughly 30,000 workers from factories and enterprises across the Kingdom who went on leave during Khmer New Year began their government-imposed 14-day quarantine on Monday. Speaking at a press conference while visiting workers at the Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone on Monday, Ministry

  • Unemployed to get $40 per month

    The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training has instructed enterprises, business owners and travel agencies in five provinces to prepare the proper forms for the suspension of employment contracts. This, it said, will make it easier for the ministry to transfer $40 a month to workers

  • Gov’t travel ban flouted

    While the majority of Cambodians have paid heed to Prime Minister Hun Sen’s order to stay put and not travel during the Khmer New Year – the holidays of which were also postponed – several hundred have left Phnom Penh nonetheless. They have allegedly breached provincial

  • G20 energy ministers struggle to finalise oil output cuts

    Top oil producers struggled to finalise production cuts during a virtual summit held by Group of 20 (G20) energy ministers on Friday, despite US President Donald Trump’s mediation efforts to end a standoff with Mexico. The final G20 communique appeared to gloss over simmering divisions

  • Kingdom revises travel restriction order

    The government on Friday eased the district and provincial border restrictions issued on Thursday. People are now allowed to cross districts within their provinces. Phnom Penh and Kandal province are to be treated as a single region where people are allowed to travel freely. In

  • Private schools struggling

    The Cambodian Higher Education Association has claimed that 113 private educational establishments are facing bankruptcy because of their inability to pay rent and staff salaries in light of nationwide school closures caused by the Covid-19 outbreak. It said the financial trouble started when the Ministry of

  • Khmer New Year holidays postponed

    In an effort to halt Covid-19 infections in the Kingdom, Prime Minister Hun Sen has postponed the Khmer New Year holidays scheduled from April 13 to 16. While the people will not have their usual break, nor will there be any public celebrations or gatherings at pagodas,