Three Hawaii High Schoolers Headed for Cambodia

HONOLULU (June 14) – Three Hawaii high school students have been selected to take part in the East-West Center's AsiaPacificEd Program "Partnership for Youth: Reporting for Change: Cambodia” program. Hannah Ross and Davin Aoyagi of Honolulu’s Mid-Pacific Institute and Maria Walczuk of Hilo’s Connections Public Charter School will join 18 of their mainland counterparts for the four-week program that gets underway July 1.

Focusing on the Khmer Rouge Tribunal as a case study, the students will analyze the role of journalism in covering an event of international importance as well as the role of the media in the democratic process.

Namji Steinemann, director of the EWC AsiaPacificEd program, says that the participants will work in teams “to create mini-documentaries during the trip aimed at informing their peers back home about the tribunal process and the changing dynamics of Cambodian society.” She adds, “The students will also develop skills in media analysis, investigative and multi-sourced research, and writing, organizing, editing, and presenting information in a way that is ‘fair and balanced’.”

The 21 high school students will spend five days in Honolulu where they will engage in a comparative analysis of international media sources covering the Tribunal and take part in workshops with media professionals and Cambodian cultural experts. The following three weeks of the program will be spent in Cambodia.

While in-country, the students will spend several days in the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh working and learning from Cambodian youth, researching the progress of the Tribunal, and interviewing judicial, governmental, and NGO staff members. From Phnom Penh, the group will travel into the countryside where each participant will spend a week living with a local family.  

Steinemann notes, “This community immersion will provide (the students) with an invaluable opportunity to develop lasting and meaningful relationships with their Cambodian peers and host families, and cross-cultural awareness based on personal and social interaction.”

The 21 American high school students will also spend time in Siem Reap, home to the world famous Angkor Wat temple complex. While there they will meet and interview teenage monks as well as former members of the Khmer Rouge youth brigade. They will also participate in community projects involving Cambodian children.



The EAST-WEST CENTER is an education and research organization established by the U.S. Congress in 1960 to strengthen relations and understanding among the peoples and nations of Asia, the Pacific, and the United States.  The Center contributes to a peaceful, prosperous and just Asia Pacific community by serving as a vigorous hub for cooperative research, education and dialogue on critical issues of common concern to the Asia Pacific region and the United States.  Funding for the Center comes from the U.S. government, with additional support provided by private agencies, individuals, foundations, corporations, and the governments of the region.

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