TROY, Ala. – Troy University officials hope their efforts will help rebuild an education system destroyed by civil war.
The University, at the request of officials of the Kingdom of Cambodia, will meet with Cambodian education officials Feb. 19 – 21 in the southeast Asian nation once ruled by the Khmer Rouge.
The visit comes on the first leg of a trip that will end in Hanoi, Vietnam, where the University will conduct its first-ever commencement ceremonies at the Vietnam National University’s College of Economics on Feb. 27 and at Hanoi University of Technology on Feb. 28.
“It’s important to link this trip to the tragedy of the Khmer Rouge and what happened there,” said TROY Chancellor Dr. Jack Hawkins Jr. “Two-and-a-half million people were slaughtered and they killed off the educated set – the teachers, the graduates. That left a wide, tragically empty portfolio of people.”
Hawkins and others expect to sign an agreement of cooperation between TROY and Pannasastra University of Cambodia that will lead to formal educational ties between PUC and TROY. The University currently operates teaching sites or campuses at 63 locations outside Alabama – in 12 countries, Guam and through distance learning teaches students across 13 time zones.
“Our influence in Cambodia can exceed this agreement, but Pannasastra is step one,” he said.
Last fall, Senior Minister of Education Dr. Kol Pheng visited Troy and Dr. Hawkins to request help in rebuilding his nation’s educational infrastructure. The introduction to Minister Kol came by way of Ambassador Sichan Siv, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and a Cambodian refugee. Siv delivered the commencement address at Troy University on May 11, 2007.
“Both men have such unselfish stories of their struggles to help their home country. We hope we can help them rebuild higher education in Cambodia” Dr. Hawkins said.