In a heartening display of international camaraderie, more than two dozen Cambodian students have recently been awarded scholarships to study in Japan, thanks to the deep friendship and peace between the two nations, said a senior labour official.

Heng Sour, spokesperson for the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training, made the announcement on the evening of August 13. At the celebratory meeting, Sour extolled the Japanese Grant Aid for Human Resources Development Scholarship (JDS) as potential resources for socio-economic development and congratulated the 26 recipients.

“You were granted the scholarships at this time because of the strong bond of friendship and peace between Cambodia and Japan,” he said, urging the students to look after their health so as to ensure their academic success while in Japan.

Beyond academics, Sour encouraged the students to act as goodwill ambassadors of Cambodia.

He wants the students to present Cambodian culture and traditions to their Japanese peers and others, with the hope that they will gain knowledge to benefit their homeland upon their return. His desire is for them to contribute to Cambodia’s transformation into a high-middle-income country by 2030 and a high-income country by 2050.

Kong Samneang, head of the non-profit Federation of Education Services in Cambodia, spoke warmly of the opportunity on August 14.

“I support the exchange of students overseas because it is an opportunity to bring culture, experiences, civilisation and especially peace to those countries,” he said.

He also asked the students to maximise their opportunities and to positively represent their motherland.

According to the labour ministry, since 1993, nearly 1,500 Cambodian students have studied in Japan. The JDS was established in 2000 to support this educational endeavour.

This year, Cambodia has sent a total of 26 civil servants from 17 state institutions and public institutes to Japan under the JDS project. Included in the numbers are two doctoral degrees and 24 master’s.

This enduring partnership continues to nourish the educational and cultural bonds between Cambodia and Japan, promoting a mutual understanding that goes beyond mere diplomacy.