Cambodia

US Ambassador’s Council Faces Disengaged Youth

About 70 percent of Cambodia’s population is below the age of 30, making them a powerful constituency.

Cambodia students hold the Cambodian national flags as they attend the Independence Day celebration at the Independence Monument in the capital Phnom Penh.Cambodia students hold the Cambodian national flags as they attend the Independence Day celebration at the Independence Monument in the capital Phnom Penh.
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Cambodia students hold the Cambodian national flags as they attend the Independence Day celebration at the Independence Monument in the capital Phnom Penh.
Cambodia students hold the Cambodian national flags as they attend the Independence Day celebration at the Independence Monument in the capital Phnom Penh.
Say MonyVOA Khmer
PHNOM PENH - The new US ambassador to Cambodia, William Todd, has initiated an Ambassador’s Youth Council, aimed at engaging young people in issues of national importance. But the new initiative faces a number of challenges, including the attitudes of youths themselves.

The ambassador would like to see more young people involved in social and political affairs that affect them, the embassy’s spokesman, Sean McIntosh, told “Hello VOA” Monday.

“If the young people realize what kind of benefit it is for themselves and for their country to take the interest in the serious issues, then those young people will come around and start being engaged,” Sean McIntosh, spokesman for the embassy, told “Hello VOA” on Monday.

Say Mony hosts 'Hello VOA' from Phnom Penh, on 27 August, 2012
Say Mony hosts 'Hello VOA' from Phnom Penh, on 27 August, 2012i
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About 70 percent of Cambodia’s population is below the age of 30, making them a powerful constituency, but few in that demographic are socially or politically engaged.

Chheng Niem, a Facebook user, wrote recently, “Cambodian youth spend too much time on entertainment.”

McIntosh said Monday that Cambodia’s youth have the potential of getting more involved in issues once they see how they matter to them and have someone to inspire them.

Critic warn that getting people involved in serious issues faces a number of challenges, including their disillusionment with corruption and poor governance.

“From the primary to tertiary education, young people see only corruption due to the current bad leadership in Cambodia,” a caller named Virak said on “Hello VOA.”

“Corruption causes problems for a country when the country wants to have further development,” McIntosh said. “With any realization of the negative impacts of corruption, young people want to change that.”
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Yearlong Political Deadlock Endsi
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22 July 2014
Cambodia’s political deadlock has ended. For nearly a year, the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party has refused to join the government, calling for electoral reforms in a system it says was deeply flawed. Following nearly five hours of meetings between top opposition officials and Prime Minister Hun Sen, that deadlock has ended. The two sides finally reached agreement on a formula for selecting the National Election Committee, which the Rescue Party has said was biased toward the ruling Cambodian People’s Party. Hun Sen and Rescue Party President Sam Rainsy emerged from talks Tuesday smiling and shaking hands. “Victory,” Hun Sen told reporters after the meeting. “You can all applaud.” (Heng Reaksmey, Phnom Penh)

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