National Olympic Stadium
Thursday, February 21, 2019
(as prepared for delivery)
Your Excellency Dr. Hang Chuon Naron, Minister of Education, Youth and Sports, Ambassador Tina Susan Redshaw and other distinguished guests, volunteers, presenters, and students, thank you so much for all of your work to organize this impressive festival.
It is a huge pleasure to be here today with Minister Naron, and so many colleagues from the educational, diplomatic, and business communities.
In particular, I’d like to acknowledge all the volunteers supporting the Fifth Cambodia Science and Engineering Festival. Without months of hard work by many volunteers, this event would not be possible. And in fact, one of the things that makes this festival special is that it is student-led. In addition to exposing thousands of Cambodian students to science and engineering innovations, it empowers young Cambodian students and helps them improve their project planning skills.
Looking out at this audience and at all the great exhibits outside, I can see that Cambodia’s young people are truly excited about science and technology and the chance to use it to make Cambodia’s economy and society more modern and innovative.
The United States is proud to be a sponsor of this festival and the robotics competition, and a supporter of Cambodia’s efforts to improve science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education. The Festival gives young Cambodians the opportunity to learn about many exciting careers in the STEM field.
Investing in STEM education is critical as the country seeks to develop its manufacturing sector and attract higher-paying jobs. The Science & Engineering Festival is an important part of this process.
This festival brings the business and education communities together to showcase many of the great innovations and advancements that are moving Cambodia forward. The more young Cambodians learning about mathematics – or science, or engineering – the more good things are going to happen in Cambodia.
I hope for some of you that this Festival inspires you to think big, to think boldly and to think outside the box. Cambodia needs its promising young people to think boldly and create. To create new structures, buildings, and processes for advancing development here.
The future of Cambodia needs scientists, engineers, programmers, and IT specialists. This requires an investment of resources from the government, schools, the international community, and the private sector. It also requires a commitment on the part of Cambodia’s students who are looking to make a positive impact for Cambodia.
I know many young people think of careers in these fields as difficult or challenging. It requires hard work – yes – but not only is it possible, it is already being done by people you know. During this festival you will learn from not only peers but also from distinguished Cambodian scientists, architects, engineers already well established in their fields.
I continue to be impressed by the energy of Cambodia’s youth, and the vision that you all display.
The future for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics in Cambodia is in your hands, and the future is bright. So please, have a great time the next three days and get out there and think boldly!
Thank you very much, and good luck everyone!