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Celebrating the Success of Australian Alumni in Cambodia – Leveraging their Australian Education to Create Deep and Meaningful Change in Cambodia

On 12 March 2024 the Australian Embassy Phnom Penh and the Australian Alumni Association of Cambodia (AAA-C) held their annual Australian Alumni of the Year Awards presentation to celebrate the success of four outstanding Australian alumni.

The AAA-C Chair, Mr. Hong Reaksmey, welcomed over 230 guests from government, non-government, academia and the private sector. “In 1994, Australia offered a number of scholarships to Cambodian public servants to study in Australia…..before private higher education institutions were established in this country. Since then, more than 1,000 Cambodians have benefited from an Australia Awards Scholarship. But the education relationship goes much deeper. Including privately funded students, there are more than 25,000 Cambodians who have studied in Australia.”

The Australian Ambassador to Cambodia, H.E. Justin Whyatt, recognised the valuable contributions all Australian alumni are making to the development of Cambodia as a modern and dynamic country. “You’re supporting policy development, helping drive economic growth, opening doors for business, and strengthening Cambodia’s own education and research institutions.”

H.E. Samheng Boros, Minister attached to the Prime Minister, was awarded the Alumni of the Year 2023. “Australian education shaped my view of the world. One of my career highlights shaped by my education is the social cash transfer for COVID-19, which laid the foundations for lifting poor people out of poverty.”

Mr. Mao Sreng, Country Manager IDP Cambodia, received a special 30th Anniversary Award for Outstanding Contributions to Australia-Cambodia Education, acknowledging his outstanding contributions in an important field over the past three decades. “18 years ago, I had the opportunity to go to Australia for my master’s degree in public policy and management on an Australian Government scholarship program… and this has shaped my career till today. It allowed me to see things from a very different perspective, exposed me to diverse culture, people and backgrounds …..which enriched my understanding and made me a more balanced person.”

Dr. Heng Kimkong, National Technical Adviser at the Department of Scientific Research, Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, received the Community Leadership Award 2023.

“I’m so happy and thankful to the Australian Government for this scholarship. I learned a lot. In 2020 I co-founded a platform called Cambodian Education Forum……this was because of my time in Australia that shaped me to become more altruistic, a kind of person who cares more about society.”

The Young Leadership Award was presented to Ms. Thaung Ret, Biodiversity and Science Manager at Conservation International Cambodia. “The qualification I gained from Australia has helped make me who I am today. It gave me confidence and networks. So, I’ve the skillset and knowledge that has helped me to develop biodiversity monitoring plans and research design, which is robust and modernised.”

Ambassador Whyatt and Mr. Hong Reaksmey also welcomed home recent Australia Awards Scholarships graduates on the successful completion of their studies in Australia.

Each year approximately 45 Cambodian students are selected to pursue masters or doctoral degrees in Australian universities under the Australia Awards Scholarships.

Applications for the 2025 Australia Awards Scholarships intake for Cambodians close on 30 April 2024.

Please join the AAA-C if you graduated from an Australian tertiary education institution:

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