UCSA Hosts White Ribbon Ceremony
The University of Cambodia Student Activist (UCSA) organization hosted a White Ribbon Campaign Opening Ceremony on Saturday, November 27, 2010, from 8 to 11 am in the University of Cambodia (UC) Conference Center. Over 160 UC students and staff members participated in this event. The White Ribbon Opening Ceremony was organized by People Health Development Association (PHD), with the cooperation of the Ministry of Women’s Affairs and UC.
The White Ribbon Campaign is an international effort to eliminate violence against women. In particular, the campaign emphasizes the importance of men and boys speaking out against all forms of violence against women.
Miss Din Kanha (UCSA President), Ms. Bindi Borg (Program Coordinator for Care Cambodia) and Mr. Ou Ratanak (Executive Director of PHD) all delivered welcome remarks during the ceremony.
In her remarks, Ms. Bindi Borg provided the UC audience with a brief history of the founding of the White Ribbon Campaign. The campaign was established in 1991 and commemorates the memory of 14 women who were killed at a Canadian university in 1989 by a gunman who targeted them because of their gender. Shortly afterward, a group of Canadian men came together and decided they had a responsibility to encourage others to speak out about violence against women, and that they would wear white ribbons to signify a “personal pledge to never commit, condone, or remain silent about violence against women.” This eventually grew into the 16 Days of Action.
Ms. Borg ended her speech with a challenge to the audience: “Not to be violent, and not to be silent in the face of violence against women—that is our challenge.”
Mrs. Por Malis, Vice President for Operations at UC, delivered an inspirational keynote address that encouraged students to be mindful of their actions and words towards other individuals. Relationships that are built on mutual trust and respect are healthy ones, she said, and everyone has a responsibility to be respectful to others.
Afterward, UCSA performed a skit that had audience members rolling with laughter and that highlighted the main goals of the White Ribbon Campaign and 16 Days of Action. The student-written and -directed comedy featured adultery, verbal and physical abuse, and a fairy godmother who helped enlighten a married couple on healthy relationships that are free from violence.
Mrs. Por Malis then presented 20 UCSA students with an appreciation award for their hard work, and UCSA presented gifts to Ms. Bandi Borg and Mr. Ou Ratanak. UCSA ended the ceremony with a Q&A session in which UC students competed for small prizes by answering questions related to the White Ribbon Campaign.
In addition to hosting this opening ceremony, UCSA organized a few activities for the 16 Days of Action from November 25 through December 10. Students in the organization passed out white ribbons to their peers in classes on November 27 and 29 to promote ending violence against women.
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