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Conference Offers Grad Students a Chance To Present Their Work

2nd Annual Student Conference on Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences held at Zaman University, in Phnom Penh on May 23rd 2015. This student conference aims to encourage students to do more research in their studies. (Nov Povleakhena/VOA Khmer)

An annual student conference that aims to encourage students to do more research in their studies was held last Saturday at Zaman University, in Phnom Penh.

Sok Udom Deth, dean of the university, told VOA Khmer the conference offers a unique chance for Cambodian students to present research papers on their work. The papers are presented and then critiqued by professors or other academics with experience in a given field, he said.

The conference aims to help Cambodian students prepare for Asean integration at the end of this year. It included eight panel discussions and presentations on 32 papers. Forty-two presenters came from nine different countries.

Pou Sovachana, deputy director at the Cambodian Institute for Cooperation and Peace, said he had seen four presentations, including from US and Indonesian students.

“They have the ability, which few students in Cambodia have achieved, to be able to write, present, and talk in a way that makes people interested,” he said.

Cambodia’s research environment is currently constrained by a lack of funding and a lack of training, he said.

Im Chanboracheat, a master’s student at Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy in Singapore, presented on Cambodia’s bureaucracy and China.

“I just want to share with Cambodian students how important it is to do research,” he said later. “It doesn’t have to be perfect to do research, but you need to understand the basics first.”

The conference was good in that it sparked interest from Cambodian students on how to research and present, he said.

Yong Chandelux, a student majoring in international studies at the Institute of Foreign Languages, said he joined the conference to learn from presenters’ experience.

“I was very impressed by their research, as they have done a lot of research on their topic,” he said. “They explained it in detail.”

Sok Udom Deth said the conference, which was first held in 2014, is steadily improving, and he hopes to add presenters from more universities in the future. The presentations are done in English, which is a requirement, he said.