Interview with the Director of the Maison du Cambodge
Coming from a purely Cambodian family but born and having lived in Moscow, Russia for almost 10 years, I have become a polyglot person. I can speak Khmer, my mother tongue, Russian, English and French. After graduating and specialising in law as part of a delocalisation programme at Lumière Lion 2 University, I went on to do my Masters in International Relations at one of the most prestigious universities in Cambodia. I then continued with another master’s degree in diplomacy at the Royal School of Administration in Cambodia. Before my current position here, I worked at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation for 9 years from 2010 to 2019 and then at the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts for 3 years from 2019 to 2022 as the Secretary General of the Cambodia National Commission for UNESCO. I was appointed Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Permanent Delegate of Cambodia to UNESCO as well as Director of the House of Cambodia at the Cité Internationale Universitaire in Paris. I arrived in Paris in mid-September 2022.
The Cité internationale is a place where academics, professors and students stay, meet, study, research, explore, interact and have fun at the same time. It is an international group of intellectuals of different resources and backgrounds from all over the world who meet and have reasons to connect, get to know each other, organise activities and events to learn and help each other. This is all that has made Cité Internationale a unique campus full of diversity and inclusiveness.
The house has over thirty nationalities, including Cambodian students. The Cambodia House is very spacious. It has its own library, gym and a room to hold events that contribute to the community. By staying at the Cambodia House, everyone can witness or experience the beautiful and diverse Cambodian cultures and traditions. Especially during the weekend, residents can attend or even join the traditional Cambodian classical dance class “Le Ballet Royal” and the martial arts class “Lbokator”. Both have been inscribed on UNESCO’s list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. With so many diverse activities and experiences, it opens the doors to better opportunities for their future. They will leave with good memories of their stay at Cambodia House and will become skilled people.
The Cité internationale universitaire de Paris is like a “small universe of diplomats”. It is a cluster of human resources from different backgrounds whose lives intersect, establish links and share their experiences and moments together.