Eleanor Ainge Roy
TWO Cambodian students have been selected to study for a master's degree in International Peace Studies under a full scholarship from the Nippon Foundation.
Keo Sovannarith and El Chuon will have their tuition, living expenses and travel costs paid for throughout the 18-month course.
They will leave Cambodia on April 10 for a six-month term at the Ateneo de Manila University in the Philippines before going to the United Nations-mandated University for Peace in Costa Rica for the second term.
They will complete their studies in the Philippines before taking up an internship at an international organisation.
The program, which will celebrate its 30th anniversary next year, is designed to train young professionals in peace building, conflict prevention and humanitarian resolution.
Keo Sovannarith, a former researcher and translator at the Singaporean Embassy, said Cambodia was critically short of experienced, professional conflict resolution experts.
"I think the peace in Cambodia at present is not firm,"he said. "Of course we must think positively about the future but there are problems. During each election period our Prime Minister says if the opposition party takes power the country will fall into conflict - and that is a kind of intimidation."
He added that he was determined to return to Cambodia after his study overseas to work as a lecturer or professor.
"It is my dream to represent Cambodia on the international arena and protect my people," he said. "I want Cambodian children to understand the idea of peaceful resolution."