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Study Objectives

After I have been spent six years in the academic communities of the Institute of Foreign Languages and Pannasastra
University of Cambodia, one thing is apparent: students and young people alike need both quality education and
effective socialization to help enhance their academia. As far as I am concerned, they are not equipped with the latter
yet. In fact, young people in Cambodia are not inclined to being socially active, particularly in environmental endeavor.
As an active student and lecturer, I understand that activities outside the classroom can be fun and at the same time
provide the best ground for students’ experimentation of their classroom learning.

Getting students and youths engaged in socio-environmental activities will greatly enhance their academic background
and sociable persona. Plus, it will implant in them the care and appreciation of the environment and ultimately
encourage them to become environmentally active members of the society promoting green livelihood. And this is what
I plan to conduct a research on: youths’ social participation in environmental advocacy and factors that enable them to
do so. The hypothesis is that, with the right channel of resources and proper training and incentives, young people will
become effective advocates of eco-friendly life.

Based on my experience in youth activeness across the Southeast Asian region, I have come to realize that young people
have a great potential in altering the course of human behavior towards a more sustainable living with great respect to
the environment. Similar to the global trend, Cambodia is encouraging its young people to take a leading role in
sustainable development. A major drawback, though, is that our young people do not possess required skills and
probably willingness to take such role. And this is what I intend to find out. I plan to carry out a study focusing on what
inhibits the young from being actively participative in upholding environmentally friendly behavior and what the root
cause(s) of this inhibition is/are.

I will take a look at political, economic, and particularly cultural factors which could play crucial roles in molding the
mindset of the young about their society. Furthermore, a comprehensive analysis of Asian cultures and politics will
permit me to better understand why they behave the way they do. After all, theories and practice of the research must be
culturally relevant to the Asian and Cambodian contexts. My network with other youths around Asia then could be of
great importance. Hopefully, the knowledge that I will have acquired from the Master of Environmental Studies will
hopefully get me ready for this academic undertaking.

Another aspect that I aim to explore is the varied activities and projects that trigger positive social participation among
the young. In other words, what can we do to make sure that youths cooperate with other stakeholders – including the
government, NGOs and private sector – in advocating eco-friendly policies and businesses? Young people need a
chance to show the others that they are capable of making a positive change. I will implore on the possibilities of
networking, lobby of policy, diversification of resources, and active volunteerism to devise methods that will empower
youths’ voice in the society. In this case, the diverse nature of the United States will serve as an essential cultural
laboratory for my finding the best culturally and politically appropriate projects that reinforce active youth
volunteerism. I have already seen through Southeast Asian youth delegates, particularly those from Thailand, Malaysia
and Singapore, that when young people receive proper support, they will excel and along the way learn to love what
they are doing. I intend to make Cambodian youths similarly motivated. That is, through my research, I hope to arrive at
a conclusive result that is both practical and beneficial for my work in Cambodia.

What I will have found in my research will be applied first to my students and CamYEN members since they already
possess basic qualities to kick of pilot projects. Through studied experimentation and trials and errors, I hope to reach
certain types of outcomes that will enhance my Master’s research and help me devise a more contextualized project. By
conducting mini surveys and pilot projects among students and environment-related NGOs and businesses, I could draw
a clearer picture of how these key players view the environment and youths’ initiatives so that together we can produce
better, more culturally relative eco-friendly policies for our country. The result of the research is also crucial for the eco-
community in that it will pave the way for other young socio-environmental advocates to conduct their own researches
in the hope of strengthening youths’ participation in the process of policy decision making.

Involvement from the government, business, local and international NGOs, and academic institutions in the pursuit of
an eco-friendly living is foreseen in the future when our young are ready to take a leading role and are confident that
they can do it. I am confident that I can do it. The time for young Cambodians to step into the spotlight and start
contributing to the betterment of their environment and country is coming. With the knowledge from the Master of
Environmental Studies and research, I am certain that I will possess the necessary skills in facilitating proper channeling
of resources and organizing activities that will empower youth’s involvement in the course of ensuring a sustainable
Cambodia.