Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,


I am pleased to be here this morning at this Special Forum, especially after a long flight from Tokyo yesterday. Today, it is indeed a privilege and honor for me to launch the Toshu Fukami Chair on Human Rights and Development at the University of Cambodia, the first program of its kind to be set up in the country, if not in Asia. In establishing this Chair, my goal is to contribute to the promotion and advancement of human rights and development in Cambodia, especially at the university level.  I also hope that this Chair will help contribute toward the establishment of a national human rights committee for Cambodia.


I believe it is important for the Cambodian intellectuals and people to be actively involved in promoting dialogue and discussion on human rights and development from a holistic approach as well as from a broad perspective. Human rights and development are undoubtedly an integral part of our life. Given what Cambodia had been through during the Khmer Rouge era, I understand the significant importance of human rights and development to this country. Certainly, the two concepts—human rights and development—must go hand in hand. At present, we can look at human rights and development from many angles and diverse perspectives. However, what is important I believe is that we must value life, dignity and humanity as a whole, not only in our respective societies but in the entire world as well.


By establishing this Chair on Human Rights and Development, I hope that human rights and development can be further advanced to a higher level in this society. Therefore, today, I am pleased to announce my commitment of providing financial support in the amount of US$150,000 to the University of Cambodia for the next ten years. This financial support could be further increased, if we have a visiting scholar from overseas who will be able to take part in this important program. I hope that this initial contribution will also attract other funding support through other sources that could support human rights education at the university level in the Kingdom of Cambodia. The support reflects my strong commitment to human rights and development in Cambodia, which I have a strong confidence in the future of this country.


I also wish to announce today that I have established the Toshu Fukami Scholarship at the University of Cambodia for the brightest and best Cambodian students who wish to pursue their academic studies at the University of Cambodia. This scholarship program selects twenty top Cambodian students per year, and it will run at least for the next five years. Therefore, the total financial commitment for this scholarship program for the next five years is amounted to US$140,000.


Moreover, as a chancellor of the University of Cambodia and given my strong commitment to promoting academic excellence at this University, I am delighted to provide an additional US$10,000 per year to the University of Cambodia Endowment Fund to help support the institutional development of this University. My support for the University of Cambodia Endowment Fund is long term, and I am prepared to support it for the next thirty years to ensure the success of this University.


I hope that I will be able to provide more support morally, financially in the future to help build the University of Cambodia to become a first-class university in this Kingdom, and thus contributing toward quality human resource development in the country. I believe that the University of Cambodia deserves much support from all of us, given its noble and clear vision for building Cambodia’s present and future human resources.


Thank you for your kind attention.