Students from the American University of Phnom Penh (AUPP) and Ohio University recently collaborated on a series of projects focused on the development of leadership skills through community outreach. The students worked together with local and international organizations including Action Aid, Cambodian Living Arts, Cambodian Development Resource Institute, Enrich Institute, Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, and World Fish.

Throughout the past semester, AUPP students and their counterparts from Ohio University, a university in the Midwest region of the United States, participated in concurrent Leadership courses at their respective institutions. The students communicated regularly via Skype and email to conduct research and develop plans for their final projects.

After working together remotely all semester, the course concluded with the Ohio University students coming to Cambodia to conduct field work and present final presentations with the AUPP students. The projects provided a valuable opportunity for students from both universities to gain real world experience in a cross-cultural environment while giving back to the community in Phnom Penh.

Vannaroth Lim, a third year Business major at AUPP, said, “Everybody was very open-minded and we had the chance to share different perspectives. There was a lot of discussion and compromise, and we all learned a lot from each other.”

Lim’s group conducted interviews and surveys with the staff at the Toul Sleng Genocide Museum and provided recommendations for improving the management and operations of the museum. “Not only did I learn a lot about my own country’s history,” Lim said, “We figured out a way to contribute to the preservation of Khmer culture while at the same time learning how to effectively run a business.”

AUPP believes in providing its students with opportunities to interact with scholars and experts from around the world. Collaborative projects with international universities, guest lectures from leading experts, and internships with prominent businesses and organizations help to build the cross-cultural skills that university graduates need to be competitive in today’s global market.

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