Remarks by Ms. Veena Reedy, Mission Director, USAID/Cambodia, Transparency International Cambodia Youth Camp

Speeches Shim

Saturday, June 26, 2021

(as prepared for delivery)

  • Mr. Pech Pisey, Executive Director of Transparency International Cambodia

  • Ladies and gentlemen

Chom Riep Suor! Good afternoon! 

I am thrilled to be with you this afternoon.

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 been effective at helping 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. 

I am proud that our assistance helps ensure that Cambodian youth have every opportunity to participate fully in the lives of their societies. Together we are helping them take their rightful position at the forefront of innovation and development. 

Now to Cambodia’s young people – the reason why we are gathered today. I want you to know 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 – whether it is technology, democratic space, human rights, environment, and everything that is needed for sustainable development– so that Cambodia continues to grow in both peace and prosperity.

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. 

When packing up my office I came across my copy of the U.S. constitution as well as the Federalist Papers, which are documents which help give us insight to the reasoning and some of the debates that took place in the drafting of our constitution. Having the constitution and the bill of rights was a hard-won battle and to this day we continue to debate our understanding of what citizens are owed by their government. And what they owe their fellow citizens. Debate and civic engagement form the cornerstone of a thriving society that respects citizens. And I know you all are ready to engage by the fact that you’ve shown up.

We hope that this camp will help you learn about the foundation of civic engagement, democracy, good governance, fundamental freedoms, human rights, and digital communication for advocacy. In addition, you will be able to create your own vision to address the issues faced by your communities. I hope 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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