As the school year begins, Bowdoin welcomes two students from Cambodia for a year of academic study and civic engagement, part of a new collaborative relationship between the College and the Harpswell Foundation, whose mission is to empower a new generation of women leaders in Cambodia.
Marady Kith and Kalyan Yim, who have completed their undergraduate degrees in law and psychology respectively at universities in Phnom Penh, will enroll in courses and participate in community service opportunities arranged through the McKeen Center.
At President Mills’ request, John Holt, Bowdoin’s William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of Humanities in Religion and Asian Studies, visited the Harpswell Foundation in Phnom Penh during his sabbatical in October 2010.
Professor Holt was enormously impressed during his visit noting, “Alan Lightman, a Professor of Mathematics at MIT and the Executive Director of the Harpswell Foundation, deserves special recognition for his energy and compassion in founding the Harpswell Foundation. Its mission to support academically bright female students from rural parts of the country to pursue higher studies at the university level in Phnom Penh, where conditions and expenses are often prohibitive for the vast majority of aspiring young people from the provinces, is visionary.”
This new pilot program aims to facilitate cultural exchange and understanding between all Bowdoin students from different socio-economic and cultural backgrounds.