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Today’s youth, tomorrow’s trailblazers

Som Kanika / Khmer Times Share:
Five groups successfully land a spot in the JENESYS Programme 2018 in Japan. Supplied

Opening wide doors for Cambodian youths to experience and understand Japan – its culture, traditions and developments – the Embassy of Japan and the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport held the JENESYS 2018 youth exchange programme at the Cambodia-Japan Cooperation Center on October 25.

The JENESYS Programme was launched by the Japanese government in partnership with the MoEYS in 2007 to allow Cambodian students to participate in exchange visits to Japan. Since its formation, more than 2,000 Cambodian youths have gone on study trips to the island nation.

For every study trip, applicants are screened thoroughly based on their ability to cope with the new environment, academic performances and good moral conduct. This year, 12 groups (48 students) were selected to battle during last week’s competition. Of the 12, only five groups were chosen to travel to Japan.

Kaori Tanabe, first secretary of the Embassy of Japan in Phnom Penh, said that the competition is designed to encourage students to participate more in future developments of Cambodia, and give them the chance to share their views.

With the theme “The Future of Cambodia in 30 Years”, the embassy shared their gratitude to all the participants who actively took part in the competition and showed sincere interest in becoming Cambodia’s future leaders.

One group presents their study on written Khmer language. Supplied

JENESYS, according to Ms Tanabe, is also a way for Japan to know Khmer culture and the people of the Kingdom of Wonder in a deeper level.

“Coming from diverse majors and universities, we want them to engage in teams and bring out their creativity to demonstrate their original works in public presentations the best way possible,” Ms Tanabe said.

One of the judges, Taing Sophanarath, director of Youth Center, Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, said all selected students will represent Cambodia to the international stage. He shared that the students will help brig the customs, culture, traditions, arts and many other great things to Japan.

Nget Vich Yiny, a member of the “Written Khmer Language” group, said that “the reason why we choose this topic is that because we observed Cambodia now, a developing country and also a part of Asean community, is influenced by other languages such as English, Chinese and so on, which leads to the diminishing usage of written Khmer language. This may become a huge problem in the next 30 years, so we raised it as our topic under this year’s theme.

Having been successfully selected in the programme, she said that “being a student representatives for Cambodia, we think that it is very crucial moment for us, and what we are going to bring to Japan is our culture and our concern about our topic. We want to learn how to implement it.”

According to Ms Vich Yiny, joining the competition took her group tremendous effort and time. She added that they had to do extensive research and gather data to help them solidify their stand on the issue. The information they obtained will be used by the group to come up with feasible solutions to preserve the written Khmer language in the years to come.

“We just tried our best and hoped for a positive outcome. For us, it’s better to try and fail than failing to try.”

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