– Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
– Distinguished National and International Guests,
– Professors from Hanoi National University of Education and Vietnam National University of Economics
Today, I am profoundly honored and pleased, and as well as on behalf of H.E. Sok An, the recipient of Honorary Doctorate in Tourism, I am glad that Hanoi National University of Education and Vietnam National Economics University decided to award me and H.E. Sok An the Honorary Doctorate Degree in Education and Honorable Doctorate Degree in Tourism.
On this auspicious occasion, on behalf of the Royal Government of Cambodia, myself as well as on behalf of H.E. Sok An, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the managements and the assessment committee as well as doctors, professors and all members of Hanoi National University of Education and Vietnam National Economics University for presenting the Honorary Doctorate Degrees in Education to me and in Tourism to H.E. Sok An.
Indeed, this inspiring honor that both of us are receiving right now is also the honor for the Royal Government, Cambodian people and the whole nation. At the same time, this proud honor has clearly highlighted the responsibility and sacrifices that we all have made for the causes of strengthening peace, stability, democracy, respect of human rights and dignity, andsustainable and equitable development in Cambodia.
At the same time, this profound honor also reflects the friendship between the People of Cambodia and the People of Vietnam, which is not a newly established one. The friendship between our people and countries has gone through both in time of peace and war as well as in the time that Cambodian people are rebuilding and rehabilitating their country. Indeed, we have recently been in the process of strengthening and expanding a new type of cooperation between the two countries, especially, in our joint efforts to deepen our good neighboring relationship, cultures, broad cooperation and long-lasting peace.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Government and the people of Vietnam for their continuous support in road infrastructure sector, human resource development and health, and recently, providing Cambodia with preferential treatment for 40 products without asking any preferential treatment in return.
I would like to take this opportunity to recall of the event after the Liberation Day on the 7th January 1979, even though the country was freed and the people of Cambodia were rescued from the genocidal regime of Pol Pot, the war was still going on many years after that. Indeed, during that time our people have nothing, no rice, no proper clothes, no education nor proper shelters. We can say that 100% of Cambodian people were living under extreme poverty where everyone suffered from loosing their love ones and life threatening diseases. Today, we have gradually rebuilt our country as much as we possibly could in the most difficult situation. On the one hand, we must rebuild and rehabilitate our country by starting from zero and the ruin of socio-economic infrastructure. On the other hand, we must protect and totally prevent the return of such genocidal regime. Moreover, we must also fulfill such mission in a situation when our country was under economic sanction and aid blockage for the development of the country.
In the education sector after the Liberation Day on the 7th January, 1979, we have tried our best to build human resource through mobilizing those teachers who had survived from the genocidal regime and offering them with pedagogic training courses in Phnom Penh city, and then they can go and spread the knowledge to one another in other cities and provinces in order to open schools across the country.
At the initial stage, we firstly re-opened primary and secondary schools for students to attend classes again. At the same time, we have gradually reconstructed and improved classrooms, study materials and courses as well as continuing to develop pedagogy by focusing on meeting basic requirements of the education sector which is necessary and urgent, including enhancing schooling quality through providing books and teaching materials, expanding training of teachers and lifting up the various examination requirements.
As a result, the quality of education and the system as a whole has gradually improved and since then the education sector, building schools and training centers is one priority of my ambitions to transform the Cambodian society to a rapid progress in development; highly educated population; deep culture; and prosperous, harmonious and dignified living.
Presently, Cambodia is entering a new phase in the development of education sector by emphasizing on strengthening the basic education and the quality of schooling under the framework of developing a systematic and comprehensive national economy. In the long term vision, we have linked the education with poverty reduction strategies by incorporating the financial plan of the education sector with the general public expenditure management program.
Furthermore, it should be noted that the government policy aiming at developing human resource with high quality and efficiently using of our nation’s intellectual capital is not the efforts to address living standard issues of our population at the present time or in the short term, but it is a long-term vision for development and investment in strengthening competitiveness of Cambodia in the future, in particular in this 21st century, the era of globalization and economic competition that is based on knowledge and information technology.
In this sense, the Royal Government still considers the Human Resources Development and Education as a long-term strategy. At the same time, the poverty reduction based on foundation of human resources development is the key to assure the sustainable development and equal distribution of economic growth, because knowledge and know-how can improve the living standard of people and society as a saying goes “education is a key to solve all social and economic issues”. Therefore, a good society is the one which fabricates of people who know how to live together, respect, care, share and help each other without violence and discrimination of sex, races, positions and classes.
At the same times, the liberalization policy of the education sector and the strengthening of private sector partnership both within the country and abroad that were issued by me 10 years ago, now produce the good outcomes. Certainly, a lot of public and private educational institutions have been established and mushroomed. The Cambodian students are enthusiastic to absorb knowledge tirelessly. They have full rights and abilities to access to all kinds of information for their studies and improve their knowledge through libraries and information technology.
Indeed, being a Cambodian citizen and the Prime Minister, I do not have any comparable happiness then seeing the good progress of education sector in Cambodia during the last several years, though many challenges remain to be addressed. However, we have made countless progresses in the education including progress of tertiary education which is the main policy of the Royal Government, especially to enhance opportunities for all citizens in development, poverty reduction, institutional building, respect of human rights and dignity and democracy .
In this spirit, the conferment of the honorary doctorate degree to me is the contribution to create important priority in tertiary education and a new movement for the excellence and quality of education. I would like to take this opportunity to dedicate the conferment of this honorary doctorate degree to be a forceful and organized step to promote national academic standardization with control of quality and value of education. Obviously, if we can do this, Cambodia’s educational institutions will improve the quality of human resource development.
Therefore, during my frequent participation to confer degrees in various tertiary education institutions, I have always raised economic issues, market and management; especially I focused on development and sustainability of the tertiary education because I would like to see the tertiary education institutions to permanently stay, develop, progress in financing, management and quality and play a valuable role in the society. Moreover, I would like to see our tertiary educations continue to fulfill its historical mission in developing human resource, research study and international cooperation in the fields of education, culture and science to contribute to the reconstruction of the economy, the enhancement of social development and the protection of national culture and identity.
Being the recipient of the honorary doctorate award of the Hanoi National University of Education and on behalf of H.E. Sok An, the recipient of the honorary doctorate award of the Vietnam National Economics University, I would like to express my gratitude to His Majesty Preah Bat Preah Boromneath Norodom Sihamoni, the King of the Kingdom of Cambodia, His Majesty Preah Bat Samdech Preah Norodom Sihanouk, the King Father of independence, sovereignty and national unification and Her Majesty Samdech Preah Mohaksattrey Norodom Monineath Sihanouk, the Queen Mother of Khmer in freedom, dignity and happiness and wish Your Majesties good health and longevity to lead and stay as the shade for the coming generations. I would like to dedicate the honor that I have received today to Senate and National Assembly, especially Samdech Chea Simand Samdech Heng Samrin and the leaders of the Cambodian People Party that have always provided me with advises and helped directing all of my activities.
I would like to dedicate this award to my advisors and assistances as well as officials at all levels, armed forces, professors, lecturers, teachers and all Cambodian people who have always supported my leadership and it is learning place for me.
I also would like to dedicate this award to my late mother and to my beloved farther, brothers and sisters and what I have today is the real wealth of my parents and family.
I would like to share today cheerfulness with Lok Chumteav Bun Rany Hun Sen, my beloved wife, my children and grandchildren who have always been a part of my life sharing both happiness and difficulties.
Once again, I would like to thank Hanoi National University of Education and Vietnam National Economics University for awarding honorary doctorate to me and H.E. Sok An, especially to the management and assessment committee as well as professors, lecturers and staffs of Hanoi National University of Education and Vietnam National Economics University who are here for my honor. Finally, I would like to wish all of you with the five gems of Buddhist blessing.