Remarks by Mr. Richard Chen, Acting Mission Director, USAID/Cambodia, Transparency International Cambodia Public Forum on Women and Youth in Decision Making

Speeches Shim

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

(as prepared for delivery)

  • H.E. Mithona Phuthorng, The Governor of Koh Kong
  • Mr. Pech Pisey, Executive Director of Transparency International Cambodia
  • Ladies and gentlemen

Chom Riep Suor!  Good Morning!

I am thrilled to be with you this morning.

Let me share a few words of appreciation. First, I would like to thank our partner Transparency International Cambodia for inviting me to be with you this afternoon. Our partnership is now in its final year and I have heard from my colleagues about how it has helped women and youth in Cambodia promote democracy and transparency. 

Increasing the number of women and youth in leadership positions is critical, not only because it encourages an inclusive and diverse society, but because it also ensures that people who are on the margins of society are heard and appreciated.

Transparency International Cambodia has helped women and youth to actively participate in the decisions that affect their lives. That participation has increased young people’s appreciation for the importance of accountability, transparency, and democratic governance. Thank you for your efforts – we will continue to see their positive impact for years to come.

As part of our partnership, USAID funded Transparency International Cambodia to conduct a study on the progress towards the promotion of women and youth leadership. 96% of study respondents said it is important to have women’s voices in decision making if they are to have their concerns addressed. 92% of the respondents also agreed that new ideas and a willingness to take risks can make youth good leaders.

These findings show us that you are the key to your country’s future. Don’t stop searching for the education, the guides, the encouragement, and the advice that will help you achieve your dreams and visions.

We are depending on you to improve upon everything around you so that Cambodia continues to grow in both peace and prosperity. The quality of your life will be determined by the quality of your contribution. When you work to improve the lives of others, your life improves accordingly. 

I know that everyone must have heard of the arrest of some passionate and brave young people who were documenting pollution, which is a public service to their communities. We at the embassy are very troubled to hear of this and expressed our concerns publicly, as many of you may know. The Cambodian constitution protects freedom of speech and other human rights and we at the U.S. government will continue to support those that exercise such rights, whether they are journalists, peaceful political activists, or youth like you striving to improve your world.

We hope that this forum will help you along that journey by teaching you about the foundation of civic engagement, leadership, and your responsibilities as a good citizen. 

I hope these lessons will encourage you to reach for the stars that you succeed beyond your imagination.

Thank you to all organizers and best of luck to the participants.

Phnom Penh
Issuing Country 

Last updated: July 20, 2021

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