Youth and Reconciliation: “Together Searching for Justice and Acting for Peace”18-24 September 2008
Held in Angkor, Siem Reap of Royal Kingdom of Cambodia
Organized by Youth for Peace (YFP)

Three decades after the end of the Khmer Rouge (KR) rule (1975-1979), Cambodia is closer than ever to achieving justice for the millions who died under that regime with the impending Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia. However, this restorative process threatens to open the wounds of many survivors and instigates compelling questions for their children. Cambodia’s young people, predominately the children of survivors and perpetrators, do not receive any formal education on the history of the Khmer Rouge period and largely depend on family narratives for information. There are many youth who simply do not believe that atrocities took place and others are perplexed by the stories they hear and are unsure of what steps to take next. Such confusion and misdirected anger reflects a dangerous potential for the legacy of Cambodia’s transitional justice efforts.
The conference on Youth and Reconciliation: “Together Searching for Justice and Acting for Peace” is well-timed, as Cambodia is just now emerging from almost 30 years of civil war and genocide. Youth from across the world, who participate in this conference, will be encouraged to find opportunities for social action and peace building in their community and society. Through learning and sharing together, youth from widely varying backgrounds will begin to appreciate one another as members of "healing and reconciling communities", in the words of the conference theme. They also will develop good relationships that will most likely last throughout their lives. The conference will be held in Angkor, Siem Reap, Cambodia from September 18-24, 2008. The participants are expected to stay and learn together.
Understanding is the first step on the road to reconciliation. The participating youth from diverse countries and regions will carry this understanding home with them, following the conference in which they will have conversations and reflections on topics like reconciliation, reparation, and healing.
Goal of the ConferenceTo create a platform for youths from post conflict countries to engage in the process of justice, reconciliation, and peace.
  1. To improve youth's understanding of the history related to genocide, mass killing, and the root causes of genocide.
  2. To promote youth’s knowledge and skills about peace building in order to activate youth to become involved in peace building efforts.
  3. To exchange experiences about reparation and memorial places from post-conflict countries.
  4. To promote mutual understanding, tolerance and cooperation among youth in the hope for a peaceful world.
  5. To discuss alternative ways to educate youth about the genocide and reconciliation to work toward a better future in the region and in the world.

The main methods of learning and gaining experience during the 4 days of conference include:
  1. Country Presentation/Experience sharing: This is the chance where participants from different countries share their experiences related to peace building, justice, reconciliation, and development. This opportunity will allow participants to learn and understand with each other, and to explore various ways to make a difference.
  2. Plenary Sessions: We invite competent speakers/experts to address issues related to the following highlighted topics. We will invite speakers from post conflict and genocide experience countries and from Cambodia. This phase will encourage participants to explore cross-cultural methods of understanding the root causes of violence and genocide, while simultaneously proposing numerous ideas to help implement reconciliation, justice and peace in each country represented at the conference. The participants will also share feelings of how they, as the young generation, can build solidarity and take stances on preventing violence in the future.
  3. Debate and Dialogue: Participants will be invited to choose from many interesting topics, and join debates to further examine each issue. This activity encourages participants to listen to each other in order to create their own opinions based on their peers reasons and well formulated arguments.

    Possible topics include:
    -Peace Building: Developing youth leadership for peace and conflict studies by integrating youth into peace building initiatives. In this peace build topic, youth will discuss the following concepts:
    -Peace and Conflict Studies
    -Inter Ethnic Relation
    -Conflict in Schools
    -Youth and Social Critical Thinking
    - Non Violence Communication
    -Justice and Reconciliation: Youth will discuss the following topics:
    - Trial: Understand about mass killings, violence, and confronting international justice. The principles and the experiences of international justice and the tribunal will be introduced.
    -Truth Commission
    -Memorial Places: What is the importance of memorial places? Why do people need memorial places? In which countries do we have memorial places? What can memorial places look like? Why are memorial places important for different generations? How can youth learn from memorial places? What can youth do with the new information and experiences? What are the advantages and disadvantages of memorial places? How does a memorials design and chosen location influence a place, and the public’s perception of history? Why are memorials important for transmitting historical narratives? What is a “successful” memorial? A look into the future!

    -Reparation: What is the general concept of reparation? Which countries had reparations after a war or conflict? What does reparation look like? Who gives reparations?

    -Genocide or mass killing in School Curriculum: What do we think should be taught in schools about the Khmer Rouge history, and how do we think it should be taught?
  4. Cultural/ Documentary Shows: Youth participants will engage in creative cross-cultural exchanged through cultural performances led by youth from each country. Youth participants will conduct role play exercises related to the topics of the conference and peace building. They will be encouraged to learn to understand one another by sharing their personal stories, experiences, impressions, talents and cultures. These activities will be led and organized by youth participants. Participants can bring materials for exercises and the cultural show.
  5. Field Trip: Youth participants will have the opportunity to visit historically relevant sites including a genocide museum and the Extraordinary Chamber in the Court of Cambodia (ECCC). The thought provoking trips will help cultivate ideas and reactions which participants can express during the conference. Moreover, the trips to such momentous sites will make the theoretic discussions of the conference more concrete.
  6. Reflection and Solidarity Games - After participation in the workshops, youth participants will have time to reflect on topics, and share ideas about how to take action. They will also learn and experience how to unify themselves through solidarity-building games.
ParticipantsThere will be approximately 320 participants that will join this conference. Most of them will be Cambodian youths, and there will also be international participants from the Southeast Asia region, Rwanda, Morocco, Guatemala and Peru.
The Cambodian participants (including staff and volunteers) will come from the different YFP target areas: Phnom Penh, Battambang, Takeo, Kampong Chhnang, Preyveng, Svay Rieng, Kampot and other youth NGOs.
About the Organizer – Youth for Peace
Youth for Peace (YFP) is a local youth organization in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, that aims to bring about peace and social justice in Cambodia through the development of good role models and active citizenship of youth who understand and practice a culture of peace. YFP prepares young people for solidarity, leadership, and active citizenship by developing their capacity for decision-making, by building in them a sense of responsibility, and by empowering them to act. In workshops using a participatory methodology, supplemented by a variety of other methods, YFP challenges its students to discover their own identity and to develop analysis abilities. Through these trainings, youths develop the solidarity, trust, and confidence necessary to work together to find solutions for community problems. As one of the only local organizations that for seven years has worked to bring peace education and leadership skills to Cambodian youth throughout the country, as an organization that facilitated the 2005 study “Genocide in the Minds of Cambodian Youth”, and as an organization that has implemented outreach activities related to the Extraordinary Chamber in the Court of Cambodia (ECCC) since the beginning of 2007, Youth for Peace is uniquely well equipped to take on these challenges.
Youth for Peace experienced organizing the events to bring the youth together such the conference. In 2006, Youth for Peace conducted the National Peace Conference in Phnom Penh. Last year Youth for Peace conducted the South East Asia Conference once in Phnom Penh and the 2nd National Peace Conference in Siem Reap.
For information about Youth for Peace, please refer to our website: . Further information about the conference please contact Mr. Chhit Muny via Tel/Fax: 855-23 881 346 or email: or Ms. Kerstin Kastenholz via
Selection process

Participants are required to complete a registration form (with approval from their guardian or the director of their institution) and sign an agreement of the conference ground rules. These documents are to be sent to the conference committee at least 2 weeks before the conference.
Qualifications for the international participants and speakers:
  • up to 29 years old (for speakers)
  • up to 24 years old for participants
  • be able to communicate in English
  • active in human rights, peace, social work
  • working in topics like post-conflict, reconciliation, reparation, memorial work
Other requirements for the international participants and speakers:
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Motivational letter (Why are you interested in coming to the Conference in Cambodia?
  • What would you like to learn during the time in Cambodia? What do you think you can contribute to the post-conflict-process in Cambodia? In which way you think you can use your made experiences in Cambodia in your home country?)
Conference Fee

YFP will provide for local expenses during the conference. All expenses, including round transportation (air far and visa) from their countries and community, food, accommodation, tickets for visiting Angkor Wat and conference fees, are covered.
Cambodian participants are required to contribute 10$ for the whole conference program.
International participants are required to contribute 30$ for the whole conference. We do not cover expenses related to passport fees, travel insurance, taxis from their home countries, or pocket money. International participants are expected to have a passport, health insurance, and to pay for their food during travel.

Arriving: Conference organizers will pick you up at the Phnom Penh international airport on the date and times of arrival and bring you to the hotel before moving to the conference site.
Conference Site: It will be held at Seam Reap, Angkor (6 hours from Phnom Penh city). It is the most famous cultural visiting place of Cambodia.

Participants of the same sex are expected to stay in double rooms that the committee has reserved.
Food: Participants are requested to inform conference organizers about food diets or if they are vegetarians, or any special personal circumstances. Participants must also bring personal daily materials.
Food (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) will be served at the conference hall. Participants can also give suggestions to the responsible committee on food.



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