This past Saturday, August 28th, American University of Phnom Penh (AUPP) held its Groundbreaking Ceremony to commence construction of the largest university campus in Cambodia.

The program featured speeches from H.E. Hang Chuon Naron, Minister of Education, Youth, and Sports, Dr. Jane Close Conoley, President of California State University, Long Beach (CSULB), and Dr. Sharon Siverts, President of AUPP.

AUPP students, Prum Metkridy and Mau Pichvutika, were the Masters of the Ceremony, and did a wonderful job keeping watch over the ceremony.

The ceremony began with the Cambodian National Anthem and was followed by a blessing ceremony conducted by Buddhist monks from the local area.

Dr. Siverts spoke to the audience of over 600 people, who took time out to attend, and she also thanked all those who have supported the university since its conception.

Dr. Siverts promised that AUPP will “give the youth of Cambodia a quality American  education while they remain in Cambodia with their friends and families,” easing the stress caused by living and learning in a foreign environment.  Students gain the knowledge and experience needed to become Global Citizens without leaving Cambodia, enabling them to develop awareness of home, as well as global, issues.

Dr. Conoley, the President of CSULB,  also spoke at the ceremony, following the partnership agreement between AUPP and CSULB. She stated that “the establishment of a cutting-edge quality education institution right here in Cambodia meeting international standards is a remarkable achievement for such a young institution.” She also stated that CSULB is excited to work with AUPP, and hopes that their partnership will last long and stay strong as both AUPP and CSULB are committed to students and giving them the best education possible.

The final speaker was H.E. Hang Chuon Naron, who has visited the AUPP campus in the past and had spoken with Dr. Siverts about the potential an American-style education holds  for the talented youth coming out of Cambodia . The Minister spoke about the education in Cambodia, stating that “In Cambodia’s education system, the number of faculty members holding PhD degrees account for only 15 percent, while 80 percent hold Master’s Degrees.” At AUPP, the professors for Collegiate courses all have PhD or equivalent degrees in their field. The faculty members are all certified and experienced throughout the world giving AUPP the most experienced and qualified faculty in Cambodia today.

The new AUPP campus will be the largest, international standard university in Cambodia, and will feature sports centers, a conference center, and housing for students, plus many other facilities as part of the complex. The buildings will sit on the 7-hectare area of land and all will be part of the most technically advanced and eco-friendly university in Cambodia.

AUPP has taken the lead with innovation in the higher education field in Cambodia by being the first  university to provide student loans of up to 60% of the tuition fee, and by granting 120 Trustees’ Scholarships, this year alone, valued at over 36,000 USD each to students who are unable to find the tuition fee because of their financial position. The new university campus is yet another positive move to raise the education standards in Cambodia and the ASEAN community to meet the needs of a Global Education enabling us to turn today’s students into tomorrow’s leaders.

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