Dear Students and UP Colleagues,
As we approach the end of December, I send this message to each of you as members of the UP Family, both students and colleagues alike, to reflect on what has been an incredible year. Incredible in both challenges and what we, as a family, have achieved. The events of 2020 have changed the world, changed Cambodia and changed UP too, in ways that none of us imagined a year ago. We’ve seen unique world events that have challenged us globally and on a personal level too. Internationally, and in Cambodia, many universities are in serious financial trouble whilst students and academic staff have struggled with disrupted learning.
The emergence of COVID-19 has forced us to do so much differently. UP has, as a university, rapidly moved by providing our teaching and learning online to make sure our students get the best possible learning under the circumstances. We are very proud to have \delivered more than 21,000 lessons with classes on Google Meet as well as online content online via UPOP. Despite huge challenges, we have achieved incredible success as a leading university within Cambodia and beyond. I thank you all as students, and I thank all our academic staff too – with our commitment and support for each other we have achieved so much together!
We’ve had to find ways to move all our support services online too – like student fee payments through Wing for example (and monthly payments – a unique service we provide to help our students and families in difficult economic times). Our hard-working support staff have ensured that the university has continued to work really smoothly and happily, each and every single day. It has been a very tough transition for everyone at times, but I am deeply proud and deeply grateful to all our staff for the way you’ve each risen to these unique challenges and lived up to our values, to continue to Honor Self, Respect Others and Develop Society.
It has also been difficult to be isolated from each other at times. We thrive together as a family, when we can be on campus enjoying the ‘campus experience’ at UP a great deal – whether that’s learning in a classroom, sharing a coffee together at the Coffee Box or just a quick chat during the day. That’s why I’m really looking forward to 2021 – to the arrival of vaccines here in Cambodia and an eventual return to university life, on campus, where we should be. I am very confident that a year from now, we’ll look back at 2020 and say to each other: “We got through it together. We survived, it wasn’t easy, but we did it and we grew stronger!”
I’d also like to emphasize again that we’re here to help you too. We all need help sometimes, whether that is with a practical problem, or personal problems. Please don’t feel that you’re alone. Even though our campus isn’t physically open right now we have mental health support available for staff and students alike, if you feel that it would be welcome. It’s free to all, and it’s confidential too. If you’re having a hard time, please don’t suffer in silence. UP is a family – it’s the foundation we are built on. We achieve our greatest successes by supporting each other. For those of you who celebrate it, I’d like to wish you a Merry Christmas, and to everyone, I’d like to wish you the very best for the New Year, with a renewed sense of optimism for what should be a happy and more prosperous 2021.
All best wishes,