Alumni Update: Empowering Youth Leaders in Cambodia

UGRAD Alum Sonvannara Uk has been busy since returning from the United States

Sovannara Uk, Cambodia, Florida Gulf Coast University

UGRAD 2013 – 2014

Youths are generally referred to as the backbone of society, and thus, empowering youth is synonymous to building a bridge to mobilize the society into the era of prosperity and growth. To reach this end, youth needs opportunities to build and diversify their capacity as leaders of their communities, society, and the world. One opportunity is through Global UGRAD, an international platform where young people from different corners of the world have chances to meet, learn, and grow together. To illustrate, I would like to briefly introduce how the program shapes and continues having positive impacts on me, even after my return home.

A big picture of what I have obtained from the program is the motivation to make contributions to local as well as international communities. I have been actively involved with projects led by the Fulbright and Undergraduate States Alumni Association of Cambodia (FUSACC) and the U.S Embassy in Phnom Penh, some of which are: American Corner, Micro-Access Soft Skill, English Camp at the U.S Embassy, Radio program on Youth and Their Career “Rean Tver-Ey” (literally means why do we need to study or what to do upon graduation), and the National Convention 2014 (known as NatCon). I have also generated and undertaken projects with my friends to share our experience and inspire students, especially those in the rural communities whose chance to get access to education and information is slightly thin. In addition, I always take opportunities to attend different local and international venues to share my stories, perspectives, and the like. For instance, I was invited to speak in a workshop on what field to choose after high school organized by Toul Tompong high school volunteer group, a conference on roadmap to university success by Soiree and OOP, an education seminar by Nihon Fukushu University in Japan, and an education seminar under the auspices of Aichi, Gifu, Mie prefectural education boards hosted by New Tokai English Teachers’ Network in Japan.

Without experience and knowledge gained during my exposure in the program, I would not have had such confidence to do many things like this. I am grateful for it and strongly encourage young, energetic students to take a chance to develop themselves and play a role as a future leader in their communities.

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