Key enabler of internationalization of Cambodia’s Royal University of Agriculture honored with SEARCA’s Emerging Leaders in Transition Economies award
Dr. Seng Mom's life and career is all about linking her university and her country to the global village. As Vice Rector for Planning and International Cooperation at the Royal University of Agriculture (RUA) in Cambodia, Dr. Seng Mom has pushed forward the University’s internationalization in various extents by forging partnerships with European and Asian institutions.
After completing her Master's degree at the University of Göttingen in 2001 under a SEARCA scholarship, she helped paved the way for RUA’s student and faculty exchanges, as well as collaborative researches and other initiatives with other academic institutions.
While Dr. Mom acknowledges that she did not do it alone, RUA's exchange program grew from 2 outbound students to 200 exchange students. More than the degrees and academic credit, the program fostered networks and lifelong friendships for the students and the teachers.
In addition to the exchanges, collaborative researches are initiated yearly bringing in technical and financial resources that contribute in building and strengthening RUA. Affirming the significance of all these initiatives in helping Cambodia transition from a "least developed country" to a middle income country, Dr. Mom considers the exchanges as long-lasting commitments and not simply as one-time events.
Dr. Mom also contributed to the discussion on the challenges and opportunities faced in agricultural and rural development by organizing a number of international conferences such as the 7th International Conference on Environmental and Rural Development (ICERD) and the National Conference on Agriculture and Rural Development (NCARD). In addition, she was active in the "Annual Conference on Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishery: Achievement of 2015-2016 and Direction for 2016-2017" convened by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishery and RUA. By organizing these conferences on agriculture and by collaborating with international partners, Dr. Mom helped establish platforms for knowledge sharing and networking for the students and her colleagues.
For her active involvement in capacity building and human resource development, Dr. Seng Mom is one of SEARCA's Emerging Leaders in Transition Economies (ELITE) awardees. The award recognizes the graduate scholarship alumni who are actively contributing to the rebuilding of their nations through their transformative leadership. This is the first time since its establishment that SEARCA will be giving such prestigious recognition to its alumni, who it considers as ambassadors for agriculture and rural development in the region. Together with the 11 Outstanding SEARCA Scholarship Alumni laureates, the ELITE awardees will be honored during SEARCA's golden anniversary celebration on 25 November 2016. (Eriza C. Asilo)