Socheata Vong–Pursuing academic excellence @The University of Cambodia’s Techo Sen School of Government and International Relations


August 5, 2016

Socheata VongPursuing academic excellence @The University of Cambodia’s Techo Sen School of Government and International Relations

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Socheata Vong is a development professional at an international development organization in Phnom Penh. Born in 1982 in Banteay Meanchey province , she studied at Samdech Euv High School and earned her Bachelor’s degrees in International Relations from the University of Cambodia and in Management from the National University of Management. Her work focuses on providing technical support on elections and political processes, civic participation and social media.

Currently, she is completing her Masters degree in International Relations at Techo Sen School of Government and International Relations under the academic supervision of Professor of International Relations and Dean Din Merican.

Socheata was a Board Member of the Cambodian Economic Association (CEA) from 2009 to 2013. She is a manager of a private Cambodian Professional group (CAMPRO), an informal network joined by more than 400 Cambodian professionals working in various institutions. She is also a Managing Director of CamproPost, a website that publishes articles, essays, discussions, opinions, and documents that are related to Cambodia. I interviewed Socheata to get her views as a Cambodian citizen on the country’s civic participation past, present and future.–The Editor, CamproPost

Q.  What was it like growing up in Cambodia? What were some of the challenges you’ve had to overcome to be where you are today? 

Socheata Vong (SV):  I grew up in a small village in Banteay Meanchey, where rockets were being shot everyday in my village and near my primary school while Cambodia was still in the civil war in the late 1980s. The rockets were launched by the Khmer Rouge guerrillas from the forests and villages they occupied. All the students and myself were hiding in big holes to cover ourselves from the damages of the rockets at school and at home. The rockets were very massive, the sound was too rumbling.

I am still traumatized by that. Even now when I hear any explosions, even small balloon explosion, I don’t feel okay at all. The Khmer Rouge soldiers defected to the government in the late 1990s, abandoning Pol Pot and his cause. I was fortunate to be the only child in my family who finished high school, while struggling to earn a daily income by selling snacks in my class and in my home village. Not many students from my hometown could afford to study and live in Phnom Penh at that time. There were only a few, as I recalled.

I completed my high school in 1999, and in the same year I was awarded  National Best Student in Khmer Literature, an event that I always remember. While all the graduating high school students had to pass the entrance exams to get to the university, the Khmer Literature award allowed me to choose a university without going through the entrance exams. Without that award, I would not have had a chance to come to Phnom Penh to study because of two main reasons: 1) Each public university accepted a very limited number of students who passed the entrance exams. Not many students passed. Corruption in the entrance exams was rampant at that time. 2) My family could not afford to send me to Phnom Penh and pay for a private school. That award has completely changed my life. I became a great lover of Khmer literature and novel.

Q.  Who has been the most influential person in your life and why?

SV.  My life was greatly influenced by my father who highly valued education although he didn’t have high education. He taught me at home every day during my primary education. He was the one who insisted to send me to Phnom Penh to pursue my higher education. I remembered sending my handwritten letters to my father in my hometown to tell him about my study progress and living conditions in Phnom Penh.  He advised me to give a hand to others. He passed away in my hometown while I was in my first-month of employment in early 2003.

Q.  What three philosophers past or present have shaped your views on democracy and have shaped your life?

SV. Buddha is my greatest philosopher. His philosophy of peace, altruism and compassion have shaped my belief system.  Thomas Jefferson has influenced my thoughts about political philosophy.  I am also inspired by his quote, “I’m a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it.”  Nobel Laureate Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is the only living human being who shapes my inner life. I have read quite a lot about her including her untold story of personal sacrifice for freedom and democracy in her country, Myanmar.

Q.  Who in Cambodia are your role models?

SV. I have been fortunate to have worked closely in a private group with three people who inspire me the most: Mr. Ok Serei Sopheak, an independent governance analyst; Mr. Heng Dyna, new President of the CEA; and Mr. Chan Sophal, former President of CEA. I have worked closely with with them and several other friends in the Cambodian Professionals (CAMPRO) network. I have been truly inspired by their hard work and their caring heart to help contribute to make Cambodia better.

I am also inspired by other people who have been working so hard to realize the vision for Cambodia.  In 2015, I was fortunate to have met my academic supervisor, Professor Din Merican from Malaysia at the Techo Sen School who urged me to pursue a Masters Degree and seek academic excellence as a worthy and enriching undertaking.

Q.  It has been more than 2 decades since Cambodia signed the Paris Peace Accords.  In terms of democracy, in your opinion, what has improved since then?

SV.  In my opinion, Cambodia has made much progress in the last 20 years. There are signs of improvement in the democratic process. Yet, there is still much more that can be done for Cambodia to realize the vision. The country has gone through a number of elections since 1993. There have been so many flaws in those elections. I am confident that these flaws are being addressed by Prime Minister Hun Sen and his colleagues

I participated as an election observer in the 2008 National Assembly elections in Pailin. Voter intimidation and other irregularities were at large. I also participated in the 2013 National Assembly elections in Phnom Penh. I have observed some unprecedented events. There are reports of irregularities. So many people who turned out to vote could not find their names on the list. People were shouting and crying. Last time in 2008 when people couldn’t find their names on the register they just walked off. This time they stayed and shouted and cried. There is more momentum this time, you can feel it.

The recent election proved to be a positive sign from the perspective of being peaceful, mainly, but there were a lot of irregularities.  Post-electoral problems remain just like in the past elections. There have not yet been any proper mechanism to resolve the recurring post-electoral conflict.

Q.  Over 70% of Cambodia’s population is under the age of 35. How are young people helping to shape democracy in Cambodia today and what key role can they play in the future?

SV.  In the past, Cambodian youth were seen as not active, not attentive and not interested in the political process. However, there have been unprecedented events where youth are now seen as a catalyst for democratic transformation.  I was truly impressed by how engaged young people were in the last election. Before, they were mainly interested in entertainment and hobbies and doing fun things. This time, when the opposition leader returned to Cambodia and competed in the elections, so many young people turned out on the streets and were armed with smart phones using social media, wearing campaign T-shirts and caps and waving posters. This phenomenon of youth engagement in the political process also happened to the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) when their youth supporters came out and started their campaign trails on the streets.

Despite some serious confrontations between the youth groups of both political parties, the election campaigns were  peaceful. It is my strong hope that the youth will continue to play an important role to engage more in the civic participation of our country.

I learned a quote from Aung San Suu Kyi’s father who said to a soldier “You may not think about politics, but politics think about you.” I want to see Cambodian youth engage more in the social and political processes.

Q.  Where would you like to see Cambodia’s democracy in 10 years? 

SV.  In the next ten years, I would like to see Cambodia rising not only in terms of economic growth but also social development. I want to see the Cambodian people to make  informed choices on their future leaders. I wish to see Cambodian people have access to all kinds of information to make decisions in their daily life. I want more reforms in democratic development and see more women leaders.

Q.  You earlier mentioned about CAMPRO. Can you tell more about the network and what you contribute in the network?

SV.  CAMPRO is an informal network privately joined by more than 400 members of Cambodian professionals working in various institutions, including academia, government, NGOs, development partners, private enterprises, and media. CAMPRO has three main activities: (i) share information, views and knowledge; (ii) discuss issues; and (iii) network Cambodian professionals. Through this informal exchange of information, CAMPRO members will better understand and learn how to improve their jobs, and therefore increase their private and social contributions. Members debate on political, economic and social issues privately through an online forum.

Q.  You earlier mentioned about CAMPRO. Can you tell more about the network ?

A.  CAMPRO is an informal network privately joined by more than 400 members of Cambodian professionals working in various institutions, including academia, government, NGOs, development partners, private enterprises, and media. CAMPRO has three main activities: (i) share information, views and knowledge; (ii) discuss issues; and (iii) network Cambodian professionals.

Through this informal exchange of information, CAMPRO members will better understand and learn how to improve their jobs, and therefore increase their private and social contributions. Members debate on political, economic and social issues privately through an online forum.

CamproPost is a website that publishes articles, essays, discussions, opinions, and documents that are related to Cambodia. It is the brainchild of CAMPRO. Information that is published on CamproPost come from articles, essays, discussions, individual opinions and other materials that are sourced from both CAMPRO and non-CAMPRO members.

To learn more about CamproPost, please visit: http://campropost.org

 

Q.  You’ve been able to build a successful career at a young age. What advice would you have for young people in Cambodia who may be struggling but want to follow a similar career path?

A.  I have had more failures than successes and I am inspired by Nelson Mandela’s quote, “Do not judge me by my successes. Judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.” I wish to share some messages to young people about career path as well as about journey to life.

First, start small and dream big and never lose hope. As Martin Luther King said, “If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”  Embrace patience as a virtue. Enjoying the journey to your dreams is more important than realizing your dreams.

Second, we live as a community, therefore communication and networking is crucial. So, communicate with others and build networks. Third, be inspired and inspire others. Learn from inspiring people to help shape your life and inspire others with your realized dreams. Fourth, live a life of meaning and purpose by giving a hand to others. Be compassionate to yourself, your family and extend your compassion to others. My last words are: Be altruistic: give more to others and to your country without expecting any return.

The New Logo for The Techo Sen School Of Government and International Relations


January 22, 2016

Techo Sen School of Government and International Relations at The University of Cambodia, Phnom Penh, Kingdom of Cambodia

tss logo

Message from Dr Kao Kim Hourn, President, The University of Cambodia

Kao Kim Hourn

It is with great enthusiasm I present the University of Cambodia as a premier center of academic and research excellence in Cambodia and Southeast Asia.

Many wonderful friends and incredible resources, both human and technical, have supported this endeavor.  We have received a warm welcome from public, private, government, and partner institutions.  Yet, we recognize many great and exciting challenges before us as we build this complex university community.

The University of Cambodia is growing into a community of students, scholars, researchers, practitioners, staff, and faculty.  Academic excellence is the value we, as a community, hold most fundamental. Academic excellence drives all of our efforts.  By stressing excellence in our academic standards and pedagogy; by emphasizing the importance of teaching; by nurturing progressive research; and by encouraging a shared sense of responsibility, we hope to achieve our mission.

Our mission for building a superior academic center in Cambodia is interrelated to Cambodia’s participation in the global arena. Our perspectives and academic programs must reflect this global perspective.  We are also an integrated part of the information revolution.  The information revolution has expanded our mission by transforming the nature of the academic community, as well as how knowledge is generated and transmitted. A university is no longer limited by geography; its boundaries are national and global. We continue to seek innovative mechanisms to access and share information, and explore the possibilities inherent in new communications systems that will enhance our instructional and research objectives.

We have the greatest hopes for the future of higher learning and research in Cambodia.  We seek to take a lead in raising the bar of academic excellence.  Through the united efforts of the entire broader community, we know we can achieve our vision.

About The Techo Sen School of Government and International Relations

The Techo Sen School of Government and International Relations (TSS) provides international-standard, graduate-level, nonpartisan education, training and research to (and for) current and future leaders in the public and private sectors. TSS programs and research initiatives are targeted to those who are just beginning their careers are those who are already on their way along their chosen vocations.

Today’s and tomorrow’s leaders must be familiar with the rapidly changing demands and expectations of the 21st century – and must be able to navigate a course towards a more prosperous and sustainable future for all.  By having students examine and discuss relevant economic, political, technical, business, cultural, and ethical ideas and ideals, the Techo Sen School of Government and International Relations inspires students with rigorous, innovative, and creative approaches for developing the skills, attitudes, knowledge and values required to succeed personally – all the while making significant and long-lasting contributions to society.

As a learning-centered institution, The Techo Sen School of Government and International Relations provides an educational experience that crosses the boundaries of theory and practice – and which forges the frontiers of public, private, and civil society: in Cambodia, in ASEAN, and globally.

The School also fulfills an additional, and essential, role.  The Techo Sen School of Government and International Relations conducts nonpartisan research in (and on) Cambodia (and Cambodia’s place in the world) in order to not only enrich the current knowledge base through practical examples in a local context, but also to broadly inform and inspire society’s current and future leaders. The Techo Sen School of Government and International Relations produces impartial research useful to policy makers and to profit- and non-profit organizations.

Our Mission

The Techo Sen School of Government and International Relations prepares its students to be productive, creative, and responsible global citizens – by becoming lifelong learners.  The TSS provides a balance of both theoretical and practical tools and the professionalism needed to become agents of change for the community at large and to promote Cambodia’s standing at the local, regional and world stages.  Good governance is vital to progress everywhere and The Techo Sen School of Government and International Relations’ learning-centered educational experience raises the norms of governance and bureaucracy in Cambodia and, in turn, improves the lives of Cambodians – thus also contributing to the transformation of the region.  In short, the Techo Sen School of Government and International Relations makes the region, and the world, a better place.

The School offers Master’s and Doctoral degrees, short courses, and executive training programs.  These various avenues of education and training will allow TSS graduates to be an integral part of the process of uplifting Cambodian’s lives.  (In some cases, and depending on relevant work and life experience, students may not need a Bachelor’s degree in order to join a Master’s or Doctoral program.)

In addition, the School encourages and enables faculty and students to conduct interdisciplinary research.  Systematic and analytic thinking allows researchers to clarify issues and suggest creative solutions to complex problems.  This research benefits both the researchers themselves and will generate new knowledge and understanding of the issues affecting Cambodia’s current, rapid development.  Such knowledge and understanding is shared with key players in both the public and private sectors.

Welcome to Visit our wesbsite: http://www.uc.edu.kh

Best wishes and a Happy New Year.

 Din@UC

Din Merican. Ag. Dean, The Techo Sen School of Government and International Relations, and Professor of International Relations, The University of Cambodia

Honouring Dr. Philipp Rosler, World Economic Forum–Citation


October 20, 2015

Honouring Dr. Philipp Rosler, World Economic Forum–Citation

The Citation

Dr Kao Kim Hourn and Dr. Phillip Rosler

Dr. Kao Kim Hourn, President, University of Cambodia (left) presents the Honorary Degree to Dr. Philipp Rosler

The citation in honour of Dr. Philipp Rosler, Member of the Managing Board and Head of the Centre for Regional Strategies, World Economic Forum was delivered by Professor Dr. Greg Emery, Dean, The Techo Sen School of Government and International Relations, University of Cambodia, at the conferment  ceremony for Dr. Philipp  Rosler who received an Honorary Doctorate In International Relations (October 19, 2015 in Phnom Penh).

Mr. President, I am deeply honoured to present to you, His Excellency Dr. Philipp Rosler.

Dr. Philipp Rosler was born in war-torn Vietnam on February 24, 1973, but lost his parents during infancy. He was then adopted into a German family who moved him to Germany.

From then on, Dr. Rosler lived his life as a German national under the loving guidance of his adopted father who was a professional military man.

a_004He grew up in Hamburg  and Hanover where graduated from high school in 1992. After training to be become combat medic in the German Bundeswehr ( the Federal Defence Force) in Hamburg, Dr. Rosler was accepted to study medicine at the Hanover Medical. He earned his Doctorate in cardio-thoracic-vascular surgery in 2002.

Dr. Rosler’s medical and political careers advanced quickly over a very short space of time. In 2009, at the age of 36 years, he became Germany’s Minister of Health. Two years later, in 2011, Dr. Rosler became Vice-Chancellor and Minister of Economy and Technology–and Chairman of the Free Democratic Party. While serving as Minister, he was engaged in important issues concerning the German Health System and played a very strategic role in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cabinet, driving forward Germany’s economic and technological agenda.

During this time, he was also nominated as a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader and became an active participant on several occasions in the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland.

As of February 2014, Dr. Rosler has been a member of the World Economic Forum’s Managing Board and Head of the Centre for Regional Studies.

0_002In welcoming him to the World Economic Forum, Dr. Klaus Schwab, its Founder and Executive Chairman, said, “we are delighted to welcome Philipp Rosler into our leadership team. His career is remarkable, serving and driving the government of one of the world’s biggest economies during the past years. Dr. Rosler’s expertise and experience will be very valuable to further develop the World Economic Forum as the foremost platform for public-private sector cooperation.”

It is with great pride, and on behalf of The Board of Trustees, University of Cambodia, I invite you, Mr. President, to confer the degree Doctor of International Relations honoris causa upon Dr. Philipp Rosler.

Education: Need for Critical Thinking


October 15, 2015

Education: Need for Critical Thinking

by Rabbi Dr. Shmuly Yanklowitz

http://www.huffingtonpost.com

Martin Luther King on Critical ThinkingAccording to the ancient Greeks, dialogue is the most advanced form of thought (Vygotsky, 1978). Critical thinking and dialogue are often made manifest in the form of argument. Dialectical arguments require an appeal to beliefs and values to make crucial decisions, what Aristotle referred to as endoxa (Walton, Reed, & Macagno, 2008).–Rabbi Yanklowitz

Researchers have shown that most students today are weak in critical thinking skills. They do poorly on simple logical reasoning tests (Evans, 2002). Only a fraction of graduating high school seniors (6 percent of 12th graders) can make informed, critical judgments about written text (Perie, Grigg, and Donahue, 2005). This problem applies to both reading and writing. Only 15 percent of 12th graders demonstrate the proficiency to write well-organized essays that consisted of clear arguments (Perie et al., 2005).

Critical thinking and argument skills — the abilities to both generate and critique arguments — are crucial elements in decision-making (Byrnes, 1998; Klaczynski, 2004; Halpern 1998). When applied to academic settings, argumentation may promote the long-term understanding and retention of course content (Adriessen, 2006; Nussbaum, 2008a). According to the ancient Greeks, dialogue is the most advanced form of thought (Vygotsky, 1978). Critical thinking and dialogue are often made manifest in the form of argument. Dialectical arguments require an appeal to beliefs and values to make crucial decisions, what Aristotle referred to as endoxa (Walton, Reed, & Macagno, 2008).

In all careers, academic classes, and relationships, argument skills can be used to enhance learning when we treat reasoning as a process of argumentation (Kuhn, 1992, 1993), as fundamentally dialogical (Bakhtin, 1981, 1986; Wertsch, 1991), and as metacognitive (Hofer & Pintrich, 1997). Significant differences in approach have emerged as to how best cultivate the skills necessary to form, present and defend an argument. Differences have emerged as to whether the best practices include the use of computers, writing exercises, metacognitive activities, debates, modeling, or frontal instruction. To many “argument” sounds combative and negative but the use of argument can be constructive and generative.

Critical ThinkingEpistemological understanding becomes most evident when an individual is confronted with uncertain or controversial knowledge claims (Chandler et al., 1990; King and Kitchener, 1994; Kuhn et al., 2000; Leadbeater and Kuhn, 1989). It is imperative that high school students, of diverse personal, moral and intellectual commitments, become prepared to confront multiple perspectives on unclear and controversial issues when they move on to college and their careers. This is not only important for assuring students are equipped to compete in the marketplace of ideas but also to maximize their own cognitive development more broadly. Longitudinal studies focused on high school students (Schommer et al., 1997) show a positive correlation between educational level and epistemological level. Cross-sectional studies demonstrate that educational experiences influence epistemological development and that it is the quality of education and not age or gender that contributes to different developmental levels of epistemological understanding (Chandler et al., 1990; Leadbeater and Kuhn, 1989). Education is therefore key.

Argument is a more complex and challenging cognitive skill for students than other genres of reading and writing, such as exposition or narration. It is also more challenging for most teachers who may not have the knowledge or experience of working with argumentive reading and writing (Hillocks, 1999, 2010). In addition, most teachers try to avoid conflict when it comes to learning (Powell, Farrar, and Cohen, 1985).

Critical Thinking 2Many teachers have observed that students sitting in classrooms today are bored by the frontal authoritarian model of learning. For years, as a student, I was told to take out my notebook and copy what was written on the board. A curriculum in which they are active participants and engaged in democratic, and cognitively challenging for students works better. In the frontal model, teachers provide the questions and answers. In the argument model, the students provide the questions and the answers while the teachers provide the structure, the facilitation, and the guidance. Students gain the necessary skills to be critical thinkers in a complex society with many different agendas, facts, and perspectives.

Some argue that too much autonomy is given to students in a student-centered environment. But the risk is much greater with frontal lecture education: that our students master content but do not gain the cognitive, moral, and epistemic development necessary to become autonomous critical thinkers. The choice of reading matter for students is also an important factor. Students are unlikely to develop critical thinking skills naturally when their class reading assignments consist only of narrative and explanatory texts, as opposed to argumentive texts (Calfee & Chambliss, 1987).

The goal of an argument curriculum is to enhance the development of the responsible citizens and the pedagogical methodology consists of cultivating argument skills, epistemic development, and moral development. School-based nurturance of this development will lead to students’ autonomous critical thinking and their formation as responsible citizens. We must invest in the education of our youth. They are our future!<

Rabbi Dr. Shmuly Yanklowitz is the Executive Director of the Valley Beit Midrash, the Founder & President of Uri L’Tzedek, the Founder and CEO of The Shamayim V’Aretz Institute and the author of “Jewish Ethics & Social Justice: A Guide for the 21st Century.” Newsweek named Rav Shmuly one of the top 50 rabbis in America.”

Special Event at University of Cambodia


October 13, 2015

Special Event at University of Cambodia–Honouring Dr. Philipp Rosler, Managing Director, World Economic Forum

UC Philipp RoslerThe University of Cambodia is pleased to announce that we are holding a Special Honorary Doctorate Conferment Ceremony on October 19, 2015 at 6pm at SEATV Studio. We will honor Dr. Philipp Rosler, Managing Director, World Economic Forum with an Honorary Doctorate Degree in International Relations. Dr. Rosler will deliver a keynote address.

Benefactors, Alumni, Friends and Associates of the University of Cambodia are welcome. In order to assist us in our planning for the event, please contact us to register at:

The University of Cambodia

Northbridge Road 
P.O. Box 917 
Sangkat Toek Thla, Khan Sen Sok
Phnom Penh, Kingdom of Cambodia 12000
Telephone: (855-23) 993-274; 993-275; 993-276
Fax: (855-23) 993-284
E-mails: info@uc.edu.kh; admissions@uc.edu.kh

On Dr. Philipp Rosler

http://www.economist.com/blogs/charlemagne/2013/09/german-election-diary-2

Philipp Rosler

Dr. Philipp Rosler was born in Khang Hung, Soc Trang Province, Vietnam on February 24, 1973. He was adopted by a German couple and brought to Germany at the age of 9 months and was raised by his adoptive father, a career military officer. He lived in Hamburg, Buckeburg and Hanover where he graduated from High School. After training to become a combat medic in the German Defence Force (Bundeswehr), he was accepted to study medicine at Hanover Medical School.

Upon completion of his studies, he continued his education at an Army Hospital in Hamburg. In 2002 he earned his Doctorate in Cardio-Thoracic-Vascular Surgery and left the Army with the rank of Captain (Stabsarzt) in 2003.

Dr Rosler joined the Free Democratic Party (FDP) and its political youth organization, The Young Liberals. He was secretary of the FDP in Lower Saxony from 2000 to 2004 and served as Chairman of the FDP parliamentary group in the Lower Saxon state assembly from 2003.

From 2001-2006, Dr. Rosler was a member in the regional assembly of Hanover, where he was also Deputy Chairman of the parliamentary group. In 2006, at the state party conference in March, he was elected Chairman of the Lower Saxon FDP . Two years later, Dr. Rosler was confirmed as the Lower Saxon Party Chairman. In 2007, he was re-elected at federal FDP conference, he elected as a member of the party’s executive committee, and in 2008 , Dr. Rosler was made Minister for Economy, Labour and Transport and Deputy Prime Minister of the State of Lower Saxony.

After 2009 German Elections, Dr. Rosler joined Chancellor Angela Merkal’s second cabinet, succeeding Ulla Schmidt as Federal Minister of Health. In this capacity, he proved his mettle by engaging in important issues in the German Healthcare system.

Dr. Rosler continued his meteoric rise in politics. In 2011 he succeeded Rainer Bruderle as Federal Minister of Economics and Technology (May 12) and took over the Chairmanship of his party, Free Democratic Party from Guido Westerwelle (May 13) and became Vice-Chancellor of Germany on May 16, 2011. In his capacity as Minister of Economy and Technology, he played a key strategic role in Angela Merkel’s cabinet, driving forward Germany’s economic agenda.

In 2013, Dr Rosler joined the World Economic Forum (WEF) as Managing Director and Member of its Managing Board, bringing his strong experience in politics, economics and health care to this Davos-based organization.He was Chairman, Board of Trustees, Robert Enke Foundation (2010-2014), Board Member of ZDF Television Board (2012-2013) and a Member of the General Conference of the Central Committee of German Catholics. He is married to a physician Dr. Wiebke Kosler since 2003 and they have twin girls. Grietje and Gesche, born in 2008.

Critical Thinking @Techo Sen School of Government and International Relations, University of Cambodia, Phnom Penh


September 11, 2015

Critical Thinking @Techo Sen School of Government and International Relations, University of Cambodia, Phnom Penh

uc_campusAt the Techo Sen School of Government and International Relations, University of Cambodia in Phnom Penh, which will be launched in November, 2015, learning to think critically is our mission. As a part of developing such critical thinking, our graduate students will be exposed to political thought and philosophy in four parts starting with the Origins of Political Thought, followed by Modern Development in Political Thought; on to Contemporary Understandings of Political Thought  and finally to Political Systems and Issues.

The textbooks we use are An Introduction to Political Thought: A Conceptual Toolkit by Peri Roberts and Peter Sutch (Edinburgh University Press, 2nd Edition, 2013) and Steven B. Smith, Political Philosophy ( Yale University Press, 2013)

What is critical thinking?  Simply put, it means making reasoned judgments that are evidence-based. rational, and well thought out. It means you do not simply accept all arguments and conclusions you are exposed to but have an attitude involving questioning such arguments and conclusions. It requires you to want to see  evidence that supports a particular argument or conclusion.

In this course, our students will acquire three core skills which are essential skills for a life of Din Merican at his UC Officelearning and good citizenship:

  • Curiosity is the desire to learn more information and seek evidence as well as being open to new ideas;
  • Skepticism involves having a healthy questioning attitude about new information that you are exposed to and not blindly believing everything everyone tells you; and finally,
  • Humility is the ability to admit that your opinions and ideas are wrong when faced with new convincing evidence that states otherwise.

Visit us at http://www.tss.uc.edu.kh/home/48

Watch this video to get an appreciation of what is critical thinking. The good news is that it can be taught. It takes commitment and commitment to make yourself a better person, professional and leader when you become a critical thinker.–Din Merican, Associate Dean, Techo Sen School of Government and International Relations, University of Cambodia, Phnom Penh