Every time we begin a conversation on Cambodia’s Independence Day, we bring up the name of the late King Father Norodom Sihanouk, who did everything in his power to support Cambodia’s independence. The King Father accomplished a great deal for Cambodia, and his legacy is recorded in the country’s history.

One of the most important days of the year for Cambodia is Independence Day. The history of the day has much to teach both modern politicians and ordinary citizens of the country about its growth, prosperity, peace, stability, solidarity, and independence.

The long-awaited independence of Cambodia from France was achieved on November 9, 1953, a historic day that would influence the country’s future. This victory was the result of years of hardship, selflessness, and the unwavering efforts of activists, leaders, and people of Cambodia who battled for the freedom to choose their own path in life.

Liberation from colonial bonds is only one aspect of independence’s significance. It represents the beginning of a country, the resurgence of optimism, and the chance to create a better future. It stands for the hopes and dreams of countless generations who have battled for their land, culture and rights.

Politicians hoping to advance their own nations can learn a lot from Cambodia’s independence crusade. The path to independence was paved with suffering, sacrifice and unyielding resolve. Gaining an understanding of and acceptance of these teachings can support the efficient administration and leadership that are necessary to propel society advancement.

The strength of unity is one key lesson. The fight for independence in Cambodia was not a lone enterprise but rather a group effort propelled by a common goal. Various national factions united, putting aside their disagreements and pursuing a common objective. The fortitude and resiliency required to overcome obstacles and become independent were supplied by this oneness. Politicians today can take a cue from this, understanding that cooperation and teamwork are the greatest ways to advance the country’s interests, putting aside partisan differences.

In order to promote real development, policymakers must embrace a people-first philosophy. This entails paying attention to the hopes and worries of the populace, figuring out what they need, and acting to provide for those needs. It necessitates a sincere desire to better people’s lives, even if it means making tough choices or putting aside personal preferences.

Putting money into education is investment in Cambodia’s future. Politicians may establish equitable opportunity for young Cambodians to achieve by offering high-quality education to everyone, irrespective of their socio-economic status. This entails encouraging postsecondary education and career training programmes in addition to guaranteeing access to basic and secondary education.

Another important component is encouraging sustainable development through education. A number of environmental issues, including as pollution, deforestation, and climate change, affect Cambodia. Politicians may encourage youth environmental responsibility and understanding by incorporating sustainable development ideals into the educational system.

There should be noted that independence is more than just a historical occasion commemorated on a certain day. It is a way of thinking, an adherence to sovereignty, and a commitment to the advancement and welfare of the country and its citizens. Politicians in Cambodia can pave the way for a more wealthy and happy future by considering the tenets of independence. We all will die one day but our next general will survive and they need a place to call home. Thinking about the great future of our young generation would be another important goal that we all must struggle.

Prioritising the interests of the country before individual or political goals is vital. Real progress can only be made when leaders put the needs of the people before their own goals and strive selflessly for the common good. This calls for a thorough comprehension of the problems the country faces as well as a sincere desire to find effective solutions.

Furthermore, encouraging accountability and openness is essential to fostering confidence and trust among Cambodians. Establishing an atmosphere where citizens feel empowered and involved in the development of the country requires openness in government, responsible decision-making, and a dedication to combating corruption.

In addition, it is critical to promote inclusivity and unity. The Cambodian nation is varied and has a rich cultural legacy. In order to guarantee that all perspectives are heard and represented, politicians must acknowledge and embrace this variety. Politicians may foster unity and a strong sense of national identity by encouraging inclusivity, which will ultimately lead to a more stable and forward-thinking society.

The future security of Cambodia rests on empowering the youth and investing in education. Politicians can give the younger generation the tools they need to actively contribute to the advancement of the country by offering high-quality education and chances for skill development. By doing this, they will be able to raise a new generation of leaders who will carry on the independence movement and propel Cambodia forward.

In conclusion, Cambodian leaders have the ability to mold a better future for the country by preserving the spirit of independence. Progress and prosperity can be paved with the help of putting the needs of the people first, embracing transparency, encouraging togetherness, and making educational investments. Our wish is that this contemplation would act as a roadmap for policymakers as they work to improve Cambodia and make it a proud, happy country that leads the world in both dimensions.

Seun Sam is a researcher at the Royal Academy of Cambodia.

All views in this article are his own.