Australian Alumni Association of Cambodia (AAA-C) had an honor to be in partnership with the Australia Awards Cambodia to host — the Regional Women’s Leadership Initiative. The theme of the Initiative was: Enhancing women’s access to professional opportunity – what more can we do to empower and support women as leaders in the region?
The event was held at Raffles Hotel Le Royal and lasted three days, from Thursday 4 April to Saturday 6 April 2019. There were 72 female alumni from Cambodia and in the region participating, in which 38 were from Cambodia, 6 from Indonesia, 6 from Vietnam, 9 from the Philippines, 8 from Lao and 5 from Myanmar.
The first day of the event ended with a formal dinner hosted by Ambassador Angela Corcoran, the Australian Ambassador to the Kingdom of Cambodia. In addition to the female alumni participating in the event, the dinner was attended by several representatives from the embassies in the region, former Presidents of AAA-C Board, 2018 Australian Alumnus Awards and Australia Awards Scholarship returnees.
The three-day-event consisted of several learning sessions, guest speakers, Ted Talk style presentations and a panel discussion.
- Guest speakers:
- Associate Professor Sartiah Yusran, Indonesia, who delivered her session on The journey of women into decision-making power: Challenge, Opportunity, Rights and Politics;
- Ms Khin-Sandi Lwin, Myanmar, who delivered her session on Leadership from within: Gendered leadership development; and
- Ms Faye Alund, Indonesia, who delivered her session on Equality & Economic Impact: Why empowering women is key to a nation’s economic development.
- Ted Talk style presentations by alumni participants:
- Dr. Hoang – Yen T. Vo, DRD Founder & Director, her topic was “the change I want to see”;
- Ms Sovann Rotvatey, GADC Capacity Development Program Manager, her topic was “Re-think leadership, not shaping women”;
- Ms Dini Hajarrahmah, Co-Founder/CEO Wanderlust Indonesia, her topic was “what if we can make a change through travelling”; and
- Ms Maria Criselda Bisda, M.HRM, D.IRM, from the Philipines, her message was “leaving no one behind”.
- A Panel Discussion:
The panel discussion was moderated by AAA-C Chair, Ms. TUM Sisopheareth, and the guest speakers were (1) Her Excellency EAT Sophea, Secretary of State, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation; (2) His Excellency MAK Ngoy, Director General, Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport; (3) Ms LOEM Lida , Co-Founder of SHE Investments; and (4) Mrs LIM Solinn , Country Director of OXFAM.T
The topic of the discussion was Drawing on varied perspectives, what can we learn about the opportunities and challenges for women’s leadership in the region, and what changes are most needed to support women’s leadership to flourish?
The event ended with solidarity dance to Cambodian traditional song, and Australia Awards Scholarship offices from the region expressed their interest in keeping the event an annual event for female Australian alumni in the region.