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Cambodia’s rising star November 15, 2008

Posted by chandrapong007 in Cambodia, Education.

These days Vichara Chhy spends her time studying for her exams at Murdoch University in Western Australia and chatting with friends, like any other student. In fact, though, she is a remarkable young woman and, at only 22, a true citizen of the world already.

By Sandra Wilson

Born and brought up in Cambodia, one of the world’s poorest countries, she has already won a Cambodian government scholarship to study in Japan, studied English at the University of California at Berkeley, been selected for a Japanese university exchange program to study for a year at Murdoch University, and won selection to attend international youth congresses in Glasgow in June and in Quebec in August 2008.

Vichara is full of ideals. Most of all, she wants to do something to help the recovery of her country. Cambodia still suffers the lingering effects of the disastrous Khmer Rouge period of the 1970s, in which perhaps one-third of the population died and a great deal of infrastructure was destroyed.

More damage was done even after the overthrow of Pol Pot, during the Vietnamese occupation and the long civil war that followed. Indeed, it is almost impossible to find anyone in Cambodia who is still not affected by those terrible years, and in many ways the country remains in shock.

Now that peace has come to Cambodia, Vichara says, “it is time to begin reconstruction to help Cambodia’s economy to catch up with other countries in the region, and to give hope to the young generation.”

“I want to use everything I learn from abroad to help Cambodia achieve sustainable development in this new century.”

Her own ambition is to specialize in Economics, because it will play such an important role in reconstruction.

Some of her own family were killed during the Khmer Rouge years, and Vichara is also driven by a desire to make up for what those relatives couldn’t do in their shortened lives. She studied hard and has a special love for mathematics.

In 2002 she was placed among the top ten best students in the National Mathematics competition in Cambodia. Then she was selected with two other students for a Cambodian government scholarship to study in Japan. Her desire to study in Japan, she says, stems from the conviction that Japan provides the best example in Asia of economic transformation, especially in its recovery from the disastrous effects of the Second World War. Vichara is currently majoring in Economics and English at Ryukoku University in Japan. Then in early 2008 she arrived in Perth, courtesy of Ryukoku’s partnership agreement with Murdoch University.

Murdoch University has exchange agreements with several Japanese universities, enabling Murdoch students who study Japanese language to spend a full year studying in Japan as part of their Bachelor of Asian Studies specialist degree.

Australia, Vichara says, is not only an ideal place for her to improve her English, which will be vital in her future career, but is also a great place to study economics. In recent decades, she says, Australia has transformed itself into an internationally competitive, advanced market economy.

‘It has impressed me a lot to learn that robust business and consumer confidence, together with high export prices for raw materials and agricultural products, are fuelling the economy, particularly in the mining states. The Cambodian economy, too, is based on agriculture and raw materials, including rubber, oil and gas, so there is a lot for me to learn here’.

Vichara was selected to attend the 8th World Assembly in Glasgow in June of CIVICUS, an international alliance formed in 1993 to encourage citizen action and democracy. Then she plans to go on to the 4th World Youth Congress in Quebec City in August, though she is still seeking funding to allow this dream to come true.


Professor Sandra Wilson is a specialist in Japanese Studies at Murdoch University, Australia.


Vichara Chhy @ 2008 World Youth Congress in Quebec, Canada




 Vichara Chhy & International delegates @ 2008 World Youth Congress in Quebec, Canada




Vichara Chhy & Cambodian delegates @ 2008 World Youth Congress in Quebec, Canada




Vichara Chhy @ 2008 World Youth Congress in Quebec, Canada



Campus Asia @ Australia: http://www.campusasia.co.id/excellence/excellence04-2.htm


Related Links:

[1]. Satrey Khmer Online:  http://www.satreykhmeronline.com/2008/08/07/cambodias-rising-star/

[2]. Khmerization: http://khmerization.blogspot.com/2008/08/cambodias-rising-star.html



1. Vichara Chhy: A New Seed of Hope for Cambodia « ចន្រ្ទពង្ស . CHANDRAPONG 007 - November 15, 2008

[…] [1]. Cambodia’s Rising Star (Campus Asia): https://chandrapong007.wordpress.com/2008/11/15/cambodia%e2%80%99s-rising-star/ […]

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