ROND GILBERG, Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences and International Relations and, concurrently, the Director of Peace Conflict Studies Institute. The Faculty of Social Sciences and International Relations (SSIR) and the Peace and Conflict Studies Institute are engaged in a wide variety of teaching, research, service, and outreach.
In teaching, SSIR has the second largest numbers of majors, in the four fields of international relations, political science, psychology, and sociology (with the largest number of majors in international relations). SSIR has a very active scholarship program where our best students have strong opportunities in obtaining financial support in major European universities and in establishments of higher education in Japan, Thailand, and other countries. Our successful scholarship grantees have qualified for important positions in government, business, and NGOs upon their return to Cambodia. The Faculty is also operating a successful internship program that ensures strong contact with the private sector, thereby enhancing job opportunities after graduation. SSIR is in the process of establishing its own Alumni Association, which will further strengthen our contacts with SSIR graduates, thereby enhancing job opportunities. We strongly feel that the faculty needs to assist in graduates in their job search (while emphasizing that student must also show initiative in this endeavor).
At a time of serious enrollment problems SSIR has an active program in which our best students will visit high schools in order to recruit students for PUC. This effort, together with our reputation of running a high quality program, with scholarship opportunities, is bound to attract good students to the school generally and our Faculty in particular.
Within SSIR, the traditional majors mentioned above are now supplemented by a new major in international development and one in peace and conflict studies. These developments enable us to keep abreast of developments and needs in the wider society and produce research and courses that focuses on poverty alleviation and peace building. These programs are developed in close consultation with relevant stakeholders and partners, which include business, labor, government, and the NGO sector. In producing and conducting these programs and majors SSIR is in full agreement with the PUC vision and mission, which focus on development and peace and the relationship between them.
Our efforts in program development are closely assisted by an Advisory Board of relevant stakeholders, as described above. The inputs from this Board help us remain relevant for the needs of society and therefore assist in the implementation of our own vision and mission. SSIR has strong relations with universities abroad. One example of this is the Global Campus Program, of which SSIR is a founding member. The Global Campus Program runs classes simultaneously in Japan, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, and other places through the use of advanced video conferencing technology This is a highly successful program that has gained international attention. SSIR also has an active scholarship arrangement with Chiang Mai University in Thailand, and we are a member of the Pacific Asia Human Security Association, which includes many of the top universities in the region. These examples illustrate our strong commitment to maintain ourselves in the top levels of academic teaching and scholarship in Indochina and beyond.
The Peace and Conflict Studies Institute is the research arm of SSIR. The Institute develops research projects, raises funds for programs, runs workshops for relevant constituencies, and works actively with business, labor, government, and the NGO community in developing programs of poverty alleviation and peace building. It is clearly recognized that conflict, including violence against women, often arises from underdevelopment. The Institute is focused on exposing this link, examining the causal factors behind it, and developing and implementing programs that will reduce such sources of conflict through socio-economic political, and cultural development. An important focus is the furthering of corporate social responsibility, which will reduce the potential for conflict in the workplace, increase business contributions to community development, and enhance productivity, thereby furthering economic and social growth. The Institute also examines conflict prevention, conflict termination, and peace building, all of which are phenomena clearly related to sources of conflict and their alleviation through development. This is a form of holistic examination of related problems. Another aspect of the Institute’s work is the relationship between environmental problems and their socio-economic and political ramifications. In this field of research, we are working closely with individuals in the Faculty of Science at PUC. SSIR and the Institute together represent as vibrant, outward-looking organization that is designed to serve the community and society of Cambodia and beyond through high class teaching and advanced research and community service.