Prime Minister Hun Sen planted a bodhi tree Wednesday morning on the grounds of the Royal Academy of Cambodia in Phnom Penh, officially inaugurating an academy dedicated to research and post-graduate studies.
Speaking at a ceremony attended by a host of government officials, ambassadors and friends of the academy, Hun Sen said the academy was crucial to his war on poverty.
“The key to ensuring long-term victory in this war is sustainable human resources development. The Royal Academy should play a crucial role in all these endeavors,” said Hun Sen.
Hun Sen also appealed for national and international assistance to help the academy develop an intellectual force in Cambodia.
Academy President Sorn Samnang said Wednesday the institution was first established in 1965 but unable to continue after the country plunged into decades of civil conflict.
“Up to now we have only bachelor degrees and that is why the Royal Academy is going to train [for] masters and doctorate degrees,” said Sorn Samnang, adding the academy hopes to enroll 20 to 30 master degree level students beginning next October.
Entrance to the academy will be based on fluency in English or French and previous academic distinction. The Academy intends to attract Cambodian and foreign intellectuals to teach courses which initially will focus on the humanities and social sciences, said Sorn Samnang.
Delivering a speech on behalf of King Norodom Sihanouk, Minister for the Royal Palace Kong Sam Ol said higher learning was a resource that made the Angkor empire strong and prosperous.
However, the academy needs aid from international organizations and education foundations to implement its plans, said Sorn Samnang, adding it is currently being funded by the national budget.