Class VI (2008-2009)

 

3. Virorth Doung

Sponsor Club: Cambodia, District 3350

 

Virorth Doung's main research interest is post conflict peace-building and human security. Virorth holds a bachelor in Khmer Literature from Royal University of Phnom Penh and a diploma in pedagogy. He continued to study another bachelor of English Education at the Institute of Foreign Languages (IFL) and completed 2 academic years of 3 year-long English based bachelor of law at Royal University of Law and Economics (RULES).

He was supposed to be a public school teacher, however, his interest in promoting peace, understanding and conflict resolution lead him to a career in Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs). Virorth has extensively engaged as a peace building practitioner in Cambodia working to promote non-violent community conflict resolution and peace understanding. He was a peace-building trainer and peace training of trainer (TOT) through NGO sector. He was a program manager for peace-building and human security program with Cambodia Development Resource Institute (CDRI), a leading independent policy research institute, in early 2005 and a program manager for conflict transformation program with SILAKA in early 2002.

His hardship during a childhood spent in chronic, devastating, civil war prompted Virorth's interest and attention in peace and become a peace practitioner in Cambodia. Born six months after Khmer Rouge came to power in 1975 and three months after his father was taken away for execution, Virorth was separated from mother and siblings immediately after birth and was put with other 25 babies under two old guardians. His mother was forced to a labor camp located far away from the baby center six days after delivery and was allowed to visit Virorth only once every two weeks. Virorth was the most fortunate child who survived from that regime as most of children in his same center died gradually due to malnutrition, disease, lack of medicine and treatment and starvation. Living with an illiterate mother and other five siblings, Virorth struggled to attain higher education. He believes that only education helps him move out of poverty and bitter hardship. His secret pursuit of English study during the 1980s gave him some command of English and to attain higher education at Universities:

“Pursuing my study at any university abroad on peace and conflict resolution is my premeditated plan since I was young. I have a dream to do something better to build peace and resolve conflict non-violently in my country”

Virorth’s dream is realized when The Rotary Foundation through being accepted as a Rotary World Peace Fellow and assigned to study at University of Queensland, Australia. This opportunity not only enables Virorth to better conceptualize the peace and conflict at UQ, but also will entitle him to work harder and harder to promote peace and non-violent conflict resolution when he goes back to Cambodia. Virorth will focus on policy research on peace and conflict resolution in Cambodia after graduation. He also plans to pursue his PhD after working for a period of time in Cambodia.