"Bridges" in Cambodia

The Cambodia Daily, 9 September 2009

With up to 50 lecture events spanning six months, "Bridges-Dialogues Towards a Culture of Peace" will bring a wide variety of speakers to Cambodia ranging from Chinese action star Jackie Chan to 2008 Nobel Laureate for Medicine Francoise Barre-Sinoussi, author of the first report to identify HIV virus.

The goal of "Bridges" is to promote peace through education, especially in the field of science, Uwe Morawetz, chairman of the International Peace Center, wrote in a e-mail Tuesday.

"Peace is not a passive state," he said. "Peace is a process which needs time, attention and participation of all of us."

the speakers will not only give free, open to the public talks at Cambodian Universities, they will also engage and listen as well, Mr Morawetz said, adding each event will be "dialogue-oriented," which means the speakers will engage more with the audience enabling them to better learn about Cambodia's current needs. The lectures could lead to building "bridges" with the speakers and resources to strengthen Cambodia's educational systems, Mr. Morawetz said.

"We also hope to inspire these Nobel Laureates who will all visit Cambodia for the first time to experience a country which is far more than what Cambodia is associated with by many who live far away," he added.

Speakers included filmmaker Oliver Stone, pianist and conductor Vladimir Ashkenazy and Nobel Laureates in the field of physics, economics and medicine.

"We have chosen-in cooperation with our local partner institutions, mainly universities-Nobel Laureates and keynote speakers who can easily connect with people in all parts of society, but mainly young students," he said, adding the speakers will talk broadly on subjects to increase audience understanding.

"Bridges" will connect Cambodians, including high-ranking leaders, with experts from a wide range of experts that will benefit the country, said Koem Oeun, deputy director-general of the Education Ministry's higher education department.

He added previous "Bridges" event that proved to be a beneficial to host country Thailand and it will bring influential people to the country to share knowledge and culture.

"It will open our eyes bigger and we will open ourselves to the world as well," he said.