Saturday, 14 June 2008

18 Cambodian Students to Study in U.S. as Fulbright Scholars

Ambassador Mussomeli (front row, 3rdfrom rt.) and H.E. Dr. Kol Pheng (front row, 3rd from left) and the ten newestCambodian Fulbright students.

Embassy of United States in Cambodia

Phnom Penh
June 12, 2008

The U.S. Embassy in Phnom Penh conducted a pre-departure orientation for 10 Cambodian students who will pursue graduate degrees in the U.S. as new participants in the Fulbright Fellowship Program. They will join 8 other Cambodian Fulbright students currently in the U.S. for a total of 18 Cambodian students studying under the Fulbright program in 2008-2009. For the first time ever, Cambodian students will also pursue Ph.D. degrees with Fulbright funding.

Guests of honor for the opening ceremony were U.S. Ambassador to Cambodia Joseph A. Mussomeli and H.E. Dr. Kol Pheng, Senior Minister and Minister of Education, Youth and Sports. After the opening ceremony, the new students and their parents had the opportunity to discuss living and studying in the U.S. with two recently returned Fulbright alumni: Mr. Chan Virak, who received a Masters in TESL from San Jose State University, and Ms. Noun Monisophorn, who received an MBA from Brandeis University.

The Fulbright Fellowship Program was established by the U.S. Congress in 1945 as a means to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. The Fulbright program was re-instituted in Cambodia in 1994. Since that time, 94 Cambodian students have pursued programs of graduate study in the U.S., and 44 American Senior Scholars and Specialists have traveled to Cambodia to teach in Cambodian universities and assist with curriculum development.

In his remarks, Ambassador Mussomeli told the students, "You are about to embark on an adventure that will change your lives. Not only will you pursue an academic program that will strengthen your personal skills and development, you will also serve as cultural ambassadors to the United States during your time there, working to increase American understanding of Cambodia." The primary source of funding for the Fulbright program is an annual appropriation from Congress to the Department of State. The allocation for the Fulbright program in Cambodia in 2008 is $500,000. Additionally, U.S. universities that will host Cambodian Fulbright students for the 2008-2009 academic year will contribute an additional $170,000 in scholarships and cost sharing, bringing the total value of the Fulbright Program for Cambodia this year to $670,000.

Fulbright Student Fellowship grants provide round-trip transportation to the United States, and tuition, fees and living expenses for full-time graduate study (except as noted below). The application process to become a Cambodian Fulbright Student Scholar begins in March each year with Embassy staff conducting information sessions on the process at universities throughout Cambodia.

To be eligible for the Fulbright program, applicants must:

-have a strong academic background and a record of excellence in previous studies;
-have completed a Bachelor’s degree from a recognized college or university;
-be proficient in English (minimum TOEFL score 570);
-be able to adapt readily to a foreign environment; and
-be in good health and able to undergo a rigorous study program.

Since the Fulbright program is one of mutual exchange, it is also important to note that during the upcoming academic year two American Fulbright Scholars will travel to Cambodia to conduct curriculum development work at the Royal University of Phnom Penh in Education Leadership and at the National University of Management in Business Marketing. Additionally, four American students will come to Cambodia to conduct research as part of the Fulbright program. These will be the individuals whom U.S. institutions of higher education will depend on to transmit a knowledge of Cambodia to American students in the years ahead, and so we are pleased to support these scholars as well.

Since its establishment, the Fulbright Program has provided more than 286,000 participants -- chosen for their leadership potential -- with the opportunity to observe each others' political, economic and cultural institutions, exchange ideas, and embark on joint ventures of importance to the general welfare of the world's inhabitants. Fulbright alumni populate an entire range of professions and include heads of state, cabinet ministers, ambassadors, Members of Congress, judges, heads of corporations, university presidents, journalist, artists, professors, and teachers. Actor John Lithgow, composer Philip Glass, opera singer Renee Fleming and economist Joseph Stiglitz are among notable former American grantees.

In Cambodia, several Fulbright alumni are working in key positions in the Ministries of Finance, Agriculture and Natural Resources Preservation, and Interior. Many others are lecturers at different universities and national program officers for a variety of international and non-governmental organizations.

2008-2009 Cambodian Fulbright Student Grantees

New Students:

-Ms. Khun Channary Ph.D. In Economics, Southern Illinois University Carbondale
-Mr. Chea Kagnarith Master's Degree in Applied Linguistics, Arizona State University
-Ms. Prak Thapanak Vatey Master's Degree in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis, Portland State University
-Ms. Pors Sidonie Master's in Educational Technology, Columbia University
-Mr. Sim Hoychhoung Master's in Business Administration, Brandeis University
-Ms. Ou Chouly Ph.D. in Environmental Studies, Biodiversity Conservation, Texas A & M University
-Ms. Sar Samphors Master's Degree in Education - Curriculum Design for Secondary Education, University of Kansas
-Ms. Kim Solyda Master's Degree in Computer Science, Purdue University
-Mr. Chui Chamnan Master's Degree in Business Administration, Worcester Technology Institute
-Mr. Hor Soknak* Master's Degree in Communications, American University, School of Communication

Renewed Students:

-Ms. Dy Keo Kunthea Master's in Public Health, Indiana State University
-Mr. Peo Vathana Master's Degree in Structural Engineering, Virginia Polytechnic
-Mr. Seang Soleak Master's Degree in Journalism, University of Kansas
-Mr. Heng Piphal Master's Degree in Archaeology, University of Hawaii, Manoa
-Mr. Chou Huot Master's Degree in Economics, Syracuse University
-Ms. Ong Bopha Master's Degree in Education Administration, State University of New York, Buffalo
-Ms. Pou Pichrachana Master's Degree in Business Administration, University of Akron
-Mr. Thy Khemra Master's Degree in Economics, New York University

*Receiving partial Fulbright funding

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