Speech H.E. Mr. HUN Many
President of the Union of Youth Federations of Cambodia
the 41st Anniversary of the Union of Youth Federations of Cambodia
02 December 1978 – 02 December 2019
My warmest greetings to:
- My warmest greetings to:
Excellencies Members of Parliament, Members of the Royal Government of Cambodia, Council and Boards of Governors
- Excellencies Ambassadors and Representatives of Embassies in Cambodia
- National and International Distinguished Guests
- UYFC Family across the Country.
We are gathered here on the auspicious occasion of the 41st Anniversary of UYFC to:
- Commemorate our forefathers;
- Celebrate the achievements we have realized so far;
- Stand ready to take Cambodia into the future.
Today we are all gathered in our various uniforms, but altogether as one “Cambodia Youth”, to commemorate the countless sacrifices and celebrate the achievements of our forefathers. It is also a great opportunity for us to reflect on how far Cambodia has come. This year, sixty-six years ago, Cambodia reclaimed Independence, which in other words the right to self-govern and the right to self-determination. In this respect, as the future generation of Cambodia, we are here to remember the achievements, which without the countless sacrifices, enweaved dedication and devotion of our late King Father Norodom Sihanouk and all Cambodians during that time.
UYFC family, national and international distinguish guests!
Forty-one years ago, UYFC was born. And as we are celebrating UYFC today, we should take a moment to remind ourselves of the circumstances of why and in which context UYFC came to be. It all started with the overthrow of King Norodom Sihanouk on 18th March 1970, which arguably was conducive to the rise in influence and ultimately brought the Khmer Rouge to power on April 17th 1975, after the fall of Phnom Penh. UYFC, a wing of the United Front for the National Salvation of Kampuchea, was born within a context in which the genocidal Regime of the Khmer Rouge massacred close to 3 million innocent Cambodians during a span of 3 years 8 months and 20 days.
With the world turning the blind eyes to the crimes against humanity committed and the suffering of Cambodian people, we had no choice than to stand up for ourselves and to put our lives on the line for national salvation and the rebirth of our Nation and People. This serves to remind us that we need to rely and dictate our own destiny in any circumstances. On December 2nd, 1978 in Snoul Kratie province, the United Front for the National Salvation of Kampuchea under the leadership of Samdech Chea Sim, Samdech Heng Samrin and Samdech HUN SEN was born. With the assistance of Vietnamese volunteer troops, leaders of the United Front successfully toppled the Khmer Rouge and liberated Cambodia on 7th January 1979, a day marked as the 2nd birth of all Cambodians across ages and religious beliefs.
Though it has been close to 41 years, the spirit of December 2nd lives on to this day in all of us, within UYFC family. We are gathering here today to continue prospering the spirit and not allow it to be forgotten.
What is the spirit of December 2nd?
“It is the ability to put one individual desire/pursuit aside so to come together in order to realize accomplishment for the greater good that is our Nation and People”.
This spirit is materialized with the fact that despite our own individual capacity and responsibilities, whether we are male or female, across ages, various religious beliefs, coming from different walks of life, whether we are students, teachers, doctors, farmers, workers, athletes, entertainers, professionals in the public or private sector, we are able to put our personal endeavors aside and come together wearing one same ‘UYFC uniform’ and commit ourselves to fulfilling the tasks at hand for the betterment of our community.
UYFC is today one of the largest, if not the largest, youth organizations in Cambodia having our presences across 25 provinces and having representatives in various departments of the government. In these past 7 years, UYFC has actively taken part in socio-economic activities, from grassroots to top national levels, oriented toward our community, notably focusing on creating various platforms for like-minded youth who have the passion and heart to give back to their community.
The Royal Blessing in 2016 was to commemorate and re-affirm our highest respect to His Majesty Norodom Sihamoni, King of the Kingdom of Cambodia. On this auspicious occasion, I would like on behalf of UYFC family and in my own capacity to congratulate the 15th year of His Majesty coronation, and wish His Majesty and Queen Mother Good Health and Longevity so to provide warmth to all Cambodians in the Kingdom of Cambodia.
UYFC platforms also engage in raising awareness activities on various issues, ranging from children cancer, the risk of cervical cancer, road safety and the importance of volunteer blood donations to environmental awareness in which we take part in cleaning as well as trees planting campaign. Angkor Sankranta and Sankranta across the country are organized toward that end as well, which is to raise awareness about the protection and the promotion of our intangible traditional cultural heritages within the context of globalization.
In the field of education and sports, along with the support of government, private sectors and other stakeholders, UYFC is able to deliver schemes, such as scholarship programs both domestic and abroad, and free extra courses for grade 12th students ready to take part in BAC II exam. Soccer league and inter-ministerial cups serve as another platform for civilians and civil servants to come together and get to know each other in a friendly sport competition.
At community level, UYFC members take part in different activities, extending from giving our assistance to our people in need at the village, whether it is bringing supplies or repairing and building a home for the poor and elderly people, to taking part along with the local authorities in pre, during and post disaster reliefs. Another community-oriented activity goes to all our volunteer doctors who from time and time again would sacrifice their own private time and expenses so to travel and provide free healthcare check-ups and medical treatment for our people at communes across the country.
In these past 7 years, our activities allow us to maintain our relations, not only with like-minded youth within the country, but also with international youth organizations whether national or supra-national ones. We have expanded our partnership with more national youth councils and youth organizations across the region and around the world. UYFC looks to cooperate and foster our relationship even further, not only for today but also bringing them into the future.
Along the way, we have also accomplished four Guinness World Records, notably the 4040Kg Rice Cake, the Largest Madison Dance (2015 participants), the Longest Hand Woven Krama with 1,149.8m, and the Longest Dragon Boat with length of 87.3 meter long. The Four GWRs serve to remind us that all starts with just an idea, but with hard work, focus and dedication, we can achieve anything together.
All in all, our activities that range from our biggest events to the individual actions carried out by our UYFC family or our individual members at all corners of the country are of equal importance. We are of the hope that through our sacrifice, dedication and commitment to our volunteer works, we will not only contribute to positive impact on our community, but also serve as concrete example to inspire other youths to do the same. Furthermore, regardless of which field of activities, we discipline and motivate ourselves to care and be part of solution and not the problem for our society. For sure, all of these activities are also to cultivate and nurture the mindset of our youths to contribute and realize the common goals for our society. We strongly hope that every member of UYFC family will forever bear in mind the spirit of December 2nd and make it as a firm foundation for our decision-making whether in our individual or professional capacity, when it comes to issues of our Nation future.
“I am proud to be part of our UYFC family”.To this, on behalf of UYFC leadership, I would like to take this opportunity to thank and express my sincere appreciation to every UYFC member for the hard work. With your sacrifices and dedication, you are the one who have made UYFC accepted by society countrywide, and I am happy to say that “I am proud to be part of our UYFC family”. It is with the same spirit that I would like to extend my sincere appreciation to all parents who have given us the trust, confidence and support in allowing your children to volunteer and be part of UYFC great family.
As we are celebrating our hard works and achievements, we are also aware that we are not alone in this endeavor to make positive impact on our communities. UYFC recognizes with great pleasure and highly values the hard works and achievements of other like-minded organizations that involve in similar mission. Your organization activities have realized great and positive impact in its own way to our community. And UYFC stands ready to welcome all collaboration that are of common interests, of common goals, and for the sake of our country.
To all of us, though we are from different organizations, with different identities, coming from different backgrounds and aspire to achieve own individual dreams, yet I am sure we can agree that all we have done, reflect our positive contributions to society at large. And being responsible citizens, we ought to make more positive impacts today to shape society of tomorrow.
UYFC family, national and international distinguished guests!
Today we take the opportunity to commemorate our forefathers as well as celebrate the hard works and achievements, yet we also ought to look forward and ready ourselves to play our part toward the future of our Nation. Whether it is in our capacity as UYFC member or in our individual capacity, each of our individual decision and contribution today would play a part into paving the path toward the future.
It is true that we cannot predict what lies ahead, for us as an individual nor as a nation, yet I believe that while contributing together to the journey ahead, UYFC family shall bear in mind the remarks made by the 1st President of our organization, Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo HUN Sen, during the closing ceremony of the 4th UYFC Congress, that: “Youth shall take part in maintaining peace and stability of the nation as well as contribute to the development of social economy toward achieving vision 2050.”
With that in mind we shall ready and commit ourselves to:
- Defending our national sovereignty, territorial integrity and safeguarding social harmony;
- Taking part with our best capacity in the development of our economy;
- Continuing to make positive impacts through our volunteer works.
Our centuries old history, especially this past 100 years, has taught us that the dynamism of geopolitics matters much and ought to be monitored closely. Between the timespan of the decolonization to the Cold War, Cambodia was marked with many hard learnt lessons, and has undergone so many hardship and repeated episodes of instability, devastation and suffering in the past that we, Cambodians understand fully the value of peace and stability and shall by no means taken for granted in any circumstances nor at any cost. Cambodia is now in complete peace and stability, and subsequently has maintained our international relations at all levels, based on the principle of mutual respect, understanding, reciprocity, and collaboration for mutual benefits for our Nation and People.
In a similar manner, the need to safeguard social harmony is as important, if not more. The lessons of the past, such as the events leading up to the 1970s coup, which overthrew His Majesty King Norodom Sihanouk then, to the recent lessons that took place pre and post 2013 national election, have taught us that irresponsible politics, defamation of His Majesty the King, incitement in all forms, xenophobic rhetoric, irresponsible calls that do not consider ramifications on national security and national interest, would have long-term impact on peace, stability and social harmony which are the pre-conditions to sustainable development and prosperity. As such, UYFC reiterates our commitment and our firm stance henceforth to continue to do our utmost to defend our sovereignty and territorial integrity and protect social harmony for the sake of our people while opposing in our strongest term any forms of threat whether from domestic or abroad.
On the economic front, we have clearly set the goal and direction, which are to see Cambodia a middle-income country by 2030 and an advanced economy by 2050. To reach this goal, the Royal Government of Cambodia has formulated and put in place national strategic plan, national policies and action plans across relevant sectors and priorities, as its road-map in order to ensure consistency, continuity and practicality of its endeavors and achievements.
For that said, the RGC in each term, has put forth Rectangular Strategy and National Strategic Development Plan as the cross-sector blueprint that also provide covering framework on the consecutive state-reform programs, which at the end aims at meeting local people’s demand and accommodating external shocks deriving from currently fast-changing environment of the region and the world at large. With its pragmatism, the RGC is seen growing and strengthening the country’s potentials in order to secure an uninterrupted robust economic growth on its way to grasp the opportunity of reaching the 2030 goal. To do this, the government has been diversifying its economic bases, making more efficient use of public investment and expenditures and improving its public finance administration, especially on the part of revenue generating sectors.
In this process, it is expected to transform the country’s production base from subsistence agriculture to export-oriented agro-processing industry and manufacturing, including acquiring new high-end technology, as pointed in Industrial Development Policy 2015-2025 at the same time with the diversifying and acquiring of new exporting markets. Nevertheless, this effort depends greatly on the development of human resources, which are indispensable assets in all socio-economic and political sense, in the context of Cambodia today and also for the next 3 decades (as the median age of Cambodians is 24.5). Hence, it is critically necessary to continuously build the capacity, upgrade skills and increase productivity of this country’s young energetic human capital, as they are and will be the most important determinant in the expansion of the country’s total production capacity/frontier, which is a factor driving economic growth.
On the social front, UYFC reaffirms our commitment to preserve and continue the Spirit of December 2nd that started 41 years ago. With such dedication, we will continue to do our utmost to provide platforms for like-minded youth to take part in contributing back to society. And as we have done so in the past 7 years, we do hope that our volunteer activities would not only create positive impacts, but also serve as examples to motivate and inspire other youth, present or in the future, to care, to give back, to be optimistic of their own society, to be hopeful and to become role models and responsible leaders in their own right. We may have different dreams, but we all are aspired to contribute to maintain and further build a strong society of one Cambodianess with capable and compassionate citizenry who are in all times proud of own roots and history.
UYFC believes in the Kingdom of Cambodia, and as Cambodian youth we understand very well of the countless sacrifices that bring Cambodia to where we are today. In addition, we also understand what we have achieved in terms of development which is by no mean based on luck, but by careful planning and execution. We have achieved miracle in our own way this past 40 years, yet we can neither be satisfied nor take for granted as there are so much more needed to be done and delivered as we take on new challenges toward the future.
To all our Cambodia’s friends, you are well aware what Cambodia has gone through and how far we have come by overcoming great challenges. Though we do not live (dwell) in the past, our tragedy is both a curse and a blessing that makes us strong and very clear of where we stand today. Rest assured all that Cambodia only wants friends to continue and expand our collaboration in all fronts for our mutual benefits and interests. This is where we stand. We firmly believe in our Constitutional Monarchy and uphold a pluralistic and multi-party democracy and the rule of law principle as enshrined in our Constitution. We also firmly believe that peace and stability are the pre-conditions to the welfare of our people as well as the foundation for economic growth and prosperity of our Kingdom. A peaceful, stable and prosperous Cambodia is what we set our end goal to be.
All lessons that made us proud or regretful will remain with us. It is for us Cambodians to decide, and we need to remain focused on our goals. We have come far and realized many great achievements for our Nation and People, yet we never forget that there are so much more that we need to do toward the future. We must keep reminding ourselves that as time evolves the likelihood of new opportunities and challenges arise, which would require us to be ready and give our utmost efforts to turn new challenges into opportunities for the development of our Nation.
The future of our Nation and People is too important to leave it to chance. And at this moment in time when Cambodia enjoys full peace and stability, it is fundamental that as youth of this country, we need to consider even further about our roles, responsibilities and contributions to our Nation and People.