Partnership for Youth (P4Y) Cambodia: Reporting for Change

July 1 - July 21, 2010

Application deadline has passed.

The East-West Center is now accepting applications from U.S. high school sophomores and juniors for the 2010 Partnership for Youth (P4Y) Program. Offered annually since 2005, the program provides high school students with a unique, structured overseas learning experience, designed to foster global knowledge, and connections while also developing students' academic and personal transferable skills, such as media literacy, critical thinking, problem-solving, and cross-cultural leadership as well as presentation and communication skills.

The 2010 P4Y Program will, again, take place in Cambodia , where students will examine the ongoing Khmer Rouge trials, officially known as the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia/ECCC and supported by the United Nation, as a case study for analysis of our understanding and perceptions of the Khmer Rouge period and interrelated issues of history, justice, reconciliation, and national development.  The program will also examine the role of the media in shaping public opinions among Cambodians – particularly the youth – about the legacies of the Khmer Rouge rule.

The Program

Following the first few days of cross-cultural orientation, the program will engage participants in a comparative analysis of international media and academic sources covering the Khmer Rouge period and its legacies, including their historical, political, and socio-cultural contexts.  In Phnom Penh, participants will meet with UN officials responsible for overseeing the ECCC process and will also attend an actual Khmer Rouge trial proceeding (if the court is in session).  They will visit Tuol Sleng, a former high school that served as a security prison under Pol Pot, and the “Killing Fields” memorial as well as interview Cambodians, including a grand-daughter of Cambodia’s former king Norodom Sihanouk and niece of Cambodia’s current King Norodom Sihamoni , about their experiences during the Khmer Rouge period.  They will also learn from historians, media specialists, independent court monitors, and human rights activists.  Importantly, they will interact with local youth and learn about Cambodia’s vibrant and dynamic culture.

Participants will then travel to Siem Reap, a former Khmer Rouge stronghold, and the home to the famed Angkor temple complex and other archeological remnants of the ancient Khmer Empire.  They will see the highlights of the most famous temples (some while riding an elephant) as well as travel to Phnom Kulen, one of Cambodia’s most sacred mountains, where they will discover the “river of one thousand lingas,” which many Cambodians believe are endowed with the creative force of the Hindu god Shiva.  They will learn about as well as learn how to perform the ancient art of shadow puppet plays.  They will also spend time at a Buddhist temple, learning about the daily life of ordained monks and working alongside monks and with schoolchildren, many of them orphans, on a “green school” community service project. 

One of the unique – and most memorable – aspects of the program will involve participants living with a local family in a Cambodian village.  The weeklong village homestay will enable participants to not only gain insight into daily life in Cambodia, but also gather a new perspective on what the Khmer Rouge trials mean to Cambodians today.  Moreover, this community immersion will provide participants with an invaluable opportunity to develop lasting and meaningful relationships with their Cambodian peers and host families.  The homestay visit will conclude with P4Y participants and local children putting on a shadow puppet performance of a scene from the Cambodian version of the Indian epic Ramayana.

Following their homestay visits, participants will return to Phnom Penh for debriefing and small group work, to document their in-country learning, experiences, and encounters in multi-format presentations.  In doing so, participants will examine cross-cultural perspectives of an event and related issues of international significance, while honing their skills in media analysis, investigative and multi-sourced research, and writing, organizing, editing, and presenting information in a way that is effective and compelling.

Throughout the program, participants’ families and friends will be able to follow the group’s activities and progress through photo and narrative journal entries posted on a secure P4Y travel weblog.  They will also be able to post messages to individual participants. Click here to see the 2009 P4Y program journal and click here to view the 2009 P4Y student PowerPoint presentation.

East-West Center

P4Y is a program of the East-West Center , an internationally recognized nonprofit research and educational organization based in Honolulu, Hawaii.  Established by the U.S. Congress in 1960, the East-West Center works to strengthen understanding and relations between the United States and the countries of Asia and the Pacific.  Its Education and Research programs are multinational and collaborative in nature, provide rigorous and critical analysis of key issues of common concern to the region and the United States and involve, and foster partnerships that address significant, real world problems. The program also draws on the East-West Center’s extensive K-12 experience to provide high school youth with high quality, innovative global learning opportunities in the Asia Pacific region.  Participants have hailed P4Y programs for engendering transformative learning, while their parents/guardians and teachers have seen them transform into more confident and independent learners.

For more information, please contact:

AsiaPacificEd Program, East-West Center
1601 East-West Road, Honolulu, HI 96848
Phone: 808-944-7378; Fax: 808-944-7070