Mock ASEAN Summit

Diplomatic Meeting Simulation Organized by UC Students

By: Huy Sambath and San Vatanak
UC Bulletin Interns

“With my over-20-year experiences working in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs preparing this kind of formal event, I want to share these experiences to students on how a formal meeting is structured and organized. We mainly focused on the hospitality of the event.” -Prof Dr. In Sophal.

The University of Cambodia (UC), in collaboration with the university of Cambodia student senate (UCSS), was honored to organize, 2014, in the UC conference Room. This event was initiated and led by professor Dr. In Sophal, senior social science lecturer at the University of Cambodia and 35 students from other universities in Phnom Penh converged on the event to discuss the topic, "South China Sea Dispute and Resolution," which is currently a problematic issue in the region between some ASEAN countries and the People's Republic of China. The Advisory committee for UCSS, deans, associate deans, faculty, lectures, and participants' parnts were also in attendance.

The event marked the second Mock ASEAN Summit which aimed at engaging students in society by encouraging a deeper understanding about ASEAN, strengthening the capacity of UC students by providing them the opportunity to enhance their knowledge about the South China Sea dispute, and also to gain more experiences regarding ASEAN protocol, and diplomatic meetings. Moreover, it is to promote the prosperity of thee University of Cambodia by showcasing students' potential to the public.

The meeting which simulated the real ASEAN summit was systematically organized under the supervision of Prof. Dr.In Sophal, who has been working in this field for over 20 years.

Students were divided into three core groups: Delegate Groups, Press Group, and Protocol Officer Group, playing their respective roles in the event as country delegates, leaders, heads of state, prime
ministers, journalists, organizers, and so forth. The atmosphere of the meeting was presumably akin to that of the real meeting, in terms of hospitality and arrangement.

Prof. Dr. In Sophal accentuated that the meeting was carefully held to allow students to gain a deeper understanding of how the official and formal meeting is arranged and organized, saying, “With my
over-20-year experiences working in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs preparing this kind of formal event, I want to share these experiences to students on how a formal meeting is structured and
organized. We mainly focused on the hospitality of the event.”

Soy Ratana, International Relations student at UC, said that the Mock ASEAN Summit was another historic event for UC, “As an IR student, this event helps lay sufficient foundation for me to expand
my horizon on the topic of ASEAN and other international knowledge.

This is where I could utilize the lessons I’ve learnt in class, apply them and make use of it,” he also explained that he could gain insight into how diplomatic meetings are held and organized, saying “The way we sit, we dress, we talk, we behave, all of them have to be learned and practiced.” The meeting ended with all 10 delegates shaking hands to signify unity, prosperity and peace among the nations.

Behind this success lies a group of students who played a significant role and whose efforts played an important part in organizing, and the event would not have come into existence if without their major contribution.

Mr Keo Rottanakvisal, an International Relations student at UC, and also a UCSS project holder of this event, expressed his deep satisfaction with the event, saying, “We’ve faced a lot of problems
ranging from time constraints and preparation to communication.

However, I am so delighted that the event was smoothly run, though minor unexpected changes occurred during the event. What makes me happier is how this tremendous event could really come
into existence. We finally made it.” When asked what the event meant to him and the university as a whole, he highlighted the importance of ASEAN knowledge, saying that Cambodian youth should
get themselves ready for the forthcoming regional integration.

This Mock ASEAN Summit was a historical and monumental success for UC, and those who participated should proud to be part of this accomplishment. Participating students gained experience
in planning and organizing events and in ASEAN meeting protocol.

Moreover, students gained important insight into the complexities of regional conflict as well as the importance of collaboration. When asked if there would be the 3rd Mock ASEAN Summit next year,
Mr. Rottanakvisal responded positively, “I hope there will be.

I will be providing any assistance to my successors if needed.” UC students are looking forward to joining the 3rd Mock ASEAN summit next year.

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