I want to begin with a side note (if that is technically possible – beginning with a side note). Thanks to everyone for your feedback on here and for your support. It’s made my transition much smoother. Please continue reading and commenting. I want this to be a learning experience for you as much as it is for me, so if you find yourself curious about anything Khmer, please ask. If I don’t know an answer, I will investigate it. On the flip side, if you know something I don’t about Cambodia, do share and I’ll incorporate it into my travel plans.
So the Global Leadership Center prepared me well for my first day on the job. As part of the GLC (a certificate program I was in during college) I learned to embrace ambiguity and take things as they come. That lesson is what helped me survive today. When I asked questions and tried to wrap my head around the Asian Leadership Center (the program at University of Cambodia that I’m working with), I met only vague, open-ended challenges.
The director of the ALC is Bandol. He’s a Cambodian American, working toward duel citizenship and quite accomplished for his 30-some years -- having found a great job, quitting it to join the Peace Corps in Africa,doing work with Harvard. The director for about three months, he already seems to have moved mountains as far as the program is concerned.
Bandol said I can get whatever I would like out of this experience, so that’s something I’ve been contemplating. One of my main tasks will be to oversee the management of the International Leadership Skills Workshop we have coming up in October. I also might get to help out with the Asian Economic Forum, which will bring in leaders from countries all across the region, including Korea, Japan and Australia. One thing I really hope to do, and from what I gather there is a great need, is to write and edit for Cambodia Weekly, the newspaper published by the university.
But as I said, I’ve got to embrace ambiguity. There’s been no set tasks or timelines for me, so I guess I will feel stuff out as I go. We talked about a lot of opportunities for me, so hopefully those things will pan out. Right now it's pretty frustrating, but I'm hoping things will be clearer soon, so I'm trying to stay calm about it.
Oh, I guess I should mention who my big boss is. Dr. Kao Kim Hourn is the president of the University of Cambodia. In addition to being president, he is also the Secretary of State to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. Think of him as one step below Condoleezza Rice. Kind of a big deal, I suppose. I’ve already met with him twice and because everything we do at the ALC needs his approval, we will meet again.