October 12, 2016
Your Excellencies, distinguished guests, Reaksmey Samaki School children and staff, and citizens of Kampong Speu, thank you for inviting me to today’s joyous ceremony. I am grateful to be able to visit Kampong Speu and to meet the wonderful people who call this part of Cambodia home.
Today as we celebrate the construction of school facilities for the students of Toul Ampel, I want to relay my strong belief that a school is the foundation of a community. Without the solid foundation of an institution that introduces young minds to the treasure of learning, a place where teachers build knowledge and wisdom in their pupils, the upward progress and stability of the community structure that depends on that school for its foundation will be limited. A community needs people with wisdom and knowledge to be leaders, providers for their families, and responsible parents, among the countless other roles of people in a thriving society. Thanks to cooperation between the United States and Cambodia, we are celebrating the opening of a new school that will provide Toul Ampel Commune the kind of solid foundation of educational opportunity that every community requires and every child deserves.
On behalf of the U.S. Embassy, I would like to recognize the outstanding job that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and their Cambodian contractor partners did in overseeing the construction of the new facilities we are opening today. We designed the project not only to provide this new facility for the students, but also to boost the capacity of locals Cambodian contracting companies for future projects. Congratulations to all involved in the project for providing a lasting gift to this community.
As we celebrate the opening of this project, I would like to end with a Khmer saying. It is one that I think will have meaning to the many students who will be better equipped to take on the challenges of life because of the learning that will take place at this new school: Cham-nes vi-chea keu chea kam-nop treub dael tov tam ma-chas kroup ti kan-laeng. In English, “Wisdom rides on your own neck.”
My congratulations go out to all the citizens of Kampong Speu Province, and especially the children and staff of Reaksmey Samaki Primary School. Thank you.