In an effort to assist PhD Candidates to fulfill the requirement of the PhD process, the Techo Sen School of Government and International Relations (TSS) of the University of Cambodia organized an “Academic Forum on Contemporary World: Current Hot-spots” on Sunday, May 27, 2018 at the Cambodia Hall of the University of Cambodia. There are approximately 40 participants attended this forum, including PhD candidates and students from the University of Cambodia and from outside the Universities. This academic forum was conducted in three distinctive sessions, namely the plenary session comprised of presentations by speakers on five different topics related to contemporary world issues, groups discussion and closing session.
The workshop started with the observation of National Anthem, then an Open Remarks by Prof. Keo Chhea, Dean of the Techo Sen School of Government and International Relations.
In the Opening Remark, Prof. Keo Chhea stressed on the need to continue learning on both classroom and outside classroom learning, process of exchanging views/ideas and consultation to guide essay and dissertation writings. He also informed the forum on the process of the academic forum as well as encouraged all participants to actively involve in the groups discussion on contemporary issues in the region and the world, focusing on Korean peninsula, Middle East, European Union, and ASEAN. Prof. Keo Chhea expressed his interest on each topic that our speakers would present, and this is one of the best opportunity to learn and share each other on the current issues in the region and the world. He also thanked faculty member and students of M.A and BA. Levels who actively joined this outside classroom learning process and encouraged them to further do so in the future.
Mr. Ro Vannak, a PhD Candidate of the TSS acted as the Moderator of the forum, introduced the five volunteer speakers, namely Mr. Seang Vanly, PhD Candidate of the TSS who spoke on Inter-Korean Summit: Peaceful Co-existence or Reunification; Mr. Ro Vannak himself, a PhD Candidate of TSS, who spoke on Asia-Pacific Hegemony-U.S.-China Relations: Cooperation or Confrontation?; Mr. Kor Chhaihong, a PhD Candidate of the TSS, who spoke on Economic Impact of the Brexit; Mr. Eng Chanthy, a PhD candidate of TSS, who spoke on What are the root causes of the use of allied forces in Syria? and Mr. Chhorng Longheng, a PhD candidate of the TSS, who spoke on Infra-ASEAN Maritime and Land Boundary Conflict: Lesson learned from ASEAN Perspective.
On Inter-Korean Summit: Peaceful Co-existence or Reunification?’ Mr. Vanly pointed out Kim Jun-un’s decision to come out of isolation to participate past several bilateral summits is the combination of few main factors: First, President Moon-Jae-in. Moon supports engagement with North Korea. It was important for Moon to move away from the assertive policy pursued by the previous two conservative governments (Lee Myung-bak and Park Gun-hye) that had even called for regime change in Pyongyang. Second, the accession of a non-mainstream Donald Trump as President of the United States was another important factor. His unpredictability and strong interest in achieving deals facilitated a meeting with the ‘rogue’ North Korean regime – something that was unthinkable for previous American administrations. Third, North Korea’s achievement of its nuclear and ballistic missile capabilities was also critical in pushing the Kim regime to agree to the summits. The final factor relates to the impact of the extensive multilateral sanctions imposed on North Korea.
On Asia-Pacific Hegemony-U.S.-China Relations: Cooperation or Confrontation, Mr. Ro Vannak emphasized on U.S.-China relations since the WWII ended which are characterized by engagement and confrontation. He mentioned that many foreign policy experts view Sino-U.S. relation as competition because of both two great-powers’ strategic distrust.
On Economic Impact of the Brexit, Mr. Kor Chhaihong presented, firstly, the introduction of the EU. Secondly, he explained the causes of the Brexit. Finally, he highlighted the future possible impact when the UK truly leaves the EU in 2019. This means that the major partners such as the U.S, Germany, China, and the United Kingdom itself may end up in economic traps. Mr. Chhaihong also raised that the impact will be mainly on the businesses and financial services, employment and agriculture.
On what are the root causes of the use of allied forces in Syria? Mr. Eng Chanthy presented the history of the establishment of the first Assad regime in 1970 by Hafez al-Assad until the current regime Bashar Hafez al-Assad and the case that the Syria government used the chemical weapons for the innocent people. He also mentioned the use of allied forces led by the U.S, UK and France against the Assad’s regime and the entering of Russia in the Syria war against the allied forces and the United Nations.
On Infra-ASEAN Maritime and Land Boundary Conflicts: Lesson-learned from ASEAN Perspective, Mr. Chhorng Longheng talked more on the boundary conflicts among ASEAN Countries and the principles of international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the law of sea for the solution. Mr. Longheng also mentioned the ASEAN Charter on Non-interference, consensus, and none-use of forces, and the South China Sea dispute and the position of each ASEAN Member State on the dispute.
The Workshop was then divided into five groups discussion with each group was led by the presenter of the topic to discuss thoroughly on ideas and approaches. After forty-five minutes of discussion, each group came up with set of recommendations and suggestions as follow:
- The Asia-Pacific Hegemony-U.S.-China Relations is a cooperation and economic beneficiary rather than the confrontation,
- The Inter-Korean Summit is possible and the strong interest in achieving deals facilitated a meeting with the ‘rogue’ North Korean regime–something that was unthinkable for previous American administrations,
- The Brexit would have effects on economic development in the entire EU, and the economic consequences of leaving the EU will depends on what policies UK adopts following the Brexit,
- The use of allied forces against the Syrian government not only the using of chemical weapon on the innocent people, but also the conspiracy behind,
- The boundary disputes in ASEAN is difficult to find the solution because ASEAN Charter required ASEAN state members follows the principle of Non-interference.
In his closing remarks, Prof. Keo Chhea, Dean of the TSS, highly applauded the five talented speakers for their presentations of the topics as well as for skillfully stirring the discussion in their groups. He also stressed the importance of awareness the world current issues especially in the Arab World and color revolution which can be a lesson-learned for peace, social security, and economic development of Cambodia.
The workshop was conducted smoothly in a frank and sincere atmosphere and each participant realized the importance of such an academic forum as a platform for sharing their concept and ideas on the topics for international relations and public policy learning. Participants felt that there should be more of such forum to help them speed up their dissertation writing process as well as understand the areas deeply and comprehensively. In this sense, the participants requested the TSS as well as the University to organize such academic forum regularly.
The participants and organizers of the Academic Forum on Contemporary World: Current Hot-spots expressed appreciation and gratitude to The University of Cambodia and the TSS for facilitating such forum for benefit of the students and PhD candidates. Special thanks were also expressed to the President of the University of Cambodia and the management team for allowing and facilitating the academic forum to take place, benefiting all students and faculty members. The Organizers also expressed appreciation to all PhD candidates, friends and faculty members for their active participation in this academic forum.