For the first time, the Asean Council of Japan Alumni Conference was hosted in the cosmopolitan town of Siem Reap last week. The event, now on its 24th year, aims to strengthen the relationship of Japan and Asean nations through tourism, education and culture sharing.
More than 300 Asean students have been granted Japanese scholarships in the past years. Most of them are currently working in government and private sectors in their home countries.
The three-day conference saw participants touring around Siem Reap, discovering and understanding the culture and life in Cambodia. Participants also visited the legendary Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom, and planted seedlings in another temple.
Japanese Ambassador to Cambodia Hidehisa Horinouchi said that the conference served as an opportunity for participants to visit and see Siem Reap and its renowned temples.
“This time is a great time to see former students who studied in Asean countries participating in this conference. And we are also happy for this opportunity to see and learn Cambodia’s culture and temples, boosting Siem Reap tourism,” Mr Horinouchi added.
Speaking at the conference, Mr Vuthy Monyrath, president of Japan Alumni of Cambodia (JAC), shared that the annual event was first organised in 1977, and that this year is the first time JAC is spearheading and hosting the event in the kingdom.
“The conference aims to not only earn and share, but to strengthen the connection between alumni students who studied in Japan. Through this event, we have let these participants see what Cambodia can offer and showed them the wonderful temples through the cultural tours. When they come back to their home countries, they will be talking about what they have seen in Cambodia,” said Mr Monyrath.
Mr Monyrath continued, “More than 1200 Cambodian students got the scholarship from the Japanese government. JICA has also given several scholarship grants, but most of JICA scholarships are provided to government personnel, especially the doctorate degree.”
Japan has been helping Cambodia for several years, giving scholarships to deserving Cambodian students and providing them with good education in Japan. When the scholars come back to Cambodia, they work in the government and help in the development of the kingdom, noted Lav Chhiv Eav, Secretary of State of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport.
“Since 1993, Japan has helped Cambodia generously. The Japanese government provide education opportunities to Khmer students. The world knows the quality of education Japan has, and Cambodian students are fortunate to have experienced such kind of opportunity in Japan. They have been trained by best teachers and best curriculum. This is why many Cambodians want to study in Japan. Most importantly, Japan has helped the Cambodian government a lot.”
There are also Japanese students studying in Cambodia. Some of them are studying Computer Science and Khmer language at the Royal University of Phnom Penh.
Mr Chhiv Eav added that it is a good opportunity of Cambodian and Japanese students to study together, especially in the field of science.
“Some of the Cambodian students who studied STEM in Japan came back to Cambodia and helped improve the education sector of the country. They are helping the Ministry of Education in developing better and more innovative education system that will help the quality of the educational curriculum here,” Mr Chhiv Eav said.