International Youth Day is Celebrated in Phnom Penh

The Delegation of the European Union to Cambodia celebrated Youth Day 2023 by welcoming young people through its doors to join a raft of engaging activities

The Delegation of the European Union to Cambodia celebrated Youth Day 2023 by allowing young people and fresh graduates to enjoy a day of fun, networking, and discovery.

On May 25, the event saw youth take part in a variety of activities as well as explore booths inside the Delegation of the European Union to Cambodia.

EuroCham Cambodia stated, "Meet our staff, partners, and the Delegation Youth Sounding Board. Interact with other Cambodian and European young visitors and share how youth can contribute to building a green future."

Carmen Moreno, EU Ambassador to Cambodia, told Kiripost on Thursday that this marks the second year the EU organized the Youth Day event, aiming to provide young people with an opportunity to interact and inspire each other.

She said, "This is a platform where people come to meet each other, engage. It is an event for networking where they can meet people who may share interests and provide opportunities for them to interact with individuals they usually wouldn't meet, such as ambassadors, directors, youth, and [development] agencies.”

She added, “So, it is a good opportunity for young people to see what is out there,"

Throughout the day, youth had the chance to visit booths from different stakeholders, including NGOs, private companies, and institutions, to learn about their youth and green programs.

Think tanks, non-governmental organizations, and embassies also set up booths at the Youth Day event, providing participants with information about their programs and publications. Some of these organizations and embassies included Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS Cambodia), Transparency International, Future Forum, the EU, and the Netherlands.

Participants had the opportunity to hear from local and international business leaders about innovation and sustainability, while also receiving career advice. They were also given the chance to join guided tours of the Delegation, enjoy short movies on climate change, the environment, and sustainability in the cinema room, relax in the Delegation's garden, and play lawn games with friends while enjoying free food and drinks.

The event was co-organized by the Delegation of the European Union to Cambodia and EuroCham Cambodia, with collaboration from EU Member States such as the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, and Sweden, as well as the UN (FAO, UNDP, UNESCO), Erasmus Alumni Association, and selected partners.

Having been in Cambodia for four years, Moreno observed that Cambodia is a unique country where approximately 50 percent of the population is below 24 years of age. Therefore, providing a platform for young people to practice their soft skills, such as communication skills, and broaden their minds and knowledge is important.

Cambodia has the fourth largest youth population in the South-East Asia region (UNDESA, 2020). According to the General Population Census of the Kingdom of Cambodia 2019, one in six Cambodians was between 15 and 24 years old, and more than a quarter of the population was between 15 and 29 years old, according to the International Labour Organization.

Carmen added,

"Many countries in the world are already experiencing demographic transitions, with more old people than young people. However, Cambodia is different. So, the young people in Cambodia are very important because in a few years, all people will adjust. Therefore, it is very important that they know how to interact to solve problems, create solutions, and be innovative."

The EU aims to assist young people in achieving these goals through events like the Youth Day event.

Maria Sok, an 18-year-old grade 12 student from Beltei International School, said that this was her first time attending the Youth Day event. She came with four friends to find scholarships to study abroad and to meet new people.

She told Kiripost, "It is a great opportunity and event for students who are looking into studying abroad. People here share a lot of experiences about life in Europe."

Somart Chanraeksmey, a college student from the Royal University of Agriculture, attended the Youth Day event with 20 friends and enjoyed the activities at each booth in the area. He said, "What impressed me the most were the scholarships abroad, volunteering, and exchange programs presented by booths representing different countries. Additionally, we also engaged with waste management topics."

He added that this event was significant for him as a college student to develop his communication skills, seize opportunities, gain new knowledge, and learn how to protect the environment through fun activities like Q&A sessions and games. He encouraged Cambodia’s young people and university students to participate in future Youth Day events.

Morn Piseth, a sophomore majoring in International Relations at the Institute for International Studies and Public Policy, said that by joining this event, he had the opportunity to expand his network by interacting with diplomats, ambassadors, and directors of UN agencies.

He believes that the connections he made during the event could be valuable for seeking help in the future. He said, "We may not see the immediate benefits of joining this event today, but it will be beneficial in the long term."