CIVICUS: Center for Cambodian Civic Education (“CIVICUS Cambodia”) was founded by Theary C. Seng, to work on civic education, reconciliation and peace-building. There exist many unaddressed issues within Cambodian society especially in these areas, and thus the work of CIVICUS Cambodia is really the continuation of the good work of the Center for Social Development (CSD) under Ms. Seng’s leadership from March 2006 until it was cut short in July 2009 via a personal-turned-political injunction order and of the Center for Justice & Reconciliation (CJR), which she founded in August 2009 and now forms a major component of CIVICUS Cambodia.
The projects and activities of CIVICUS Cambodia fall under two main categories: education, and reconciliation/peace-building.
The main project which focuses on education is that of Speak Truth To Power (translated into Khmer as Courage Without Borders), a global initiative of the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights of which CIVICUS Cambodia is a partner.
The main projects which focus on peace-building and reconciliation is those of CJR, now incorporated as part of CIVICUS Cambodia. CIVICUS Cambodia via CJR continues to facilitate victims’ engagement and participation in the Khmer Rouge Tribunal and beyond through its partnering with the Association of Khmer Rouge Victims in Cambodia (AKRVC).
The Name CIVICUS
The Name CIVICUS
In deciding on the name, our initial choices came down to "Civicus Cambodia" or "Center for Cambodian Civic Education". Going with Civicus Cambodia by itself would give the impression that we are an official branch of CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation, the umbrella coalition based in South Africa.
Additionally, “civicus” is both foreign to Cambodians and too esoteric. Using Center for Cambodian Civic Education posed problems with Khmer translations as there is no concept or word in Khmer for “civic” (as in civic responsibility or civic education) and the translation would have been the condescending "Center to Educate Cambodian Citizens".
(We were conscious to insert "Cambodian" in the middle of the name, and not at the beginning or end for fear of being dropped when people refer to it. E.g., not "Cambodian Center for Civic Education", nor "Center for Civic Education in Cambodia", but the current "Center for Cambodian Civic Education".)
Hence, the lengthy name combination that we have now.
The main advantage of CIVICUS: Center for Cambodian Civic Education is the generation of discussions and inquiries about the meaning of “civicus,” a good thing not totally without aid or direction as we have "Center for Cambodian Civic Education".
CIVICUS Cambodia is registered with the Minister of Interior, and was introduced to the public with the official launch of the RFK Center’s Speak Truth to Power in February 2011.
CIVICUS Cambodia's logo depicts two physically, emotionally healthy figures and the two colors within "CIVICUS" differentiate between "civic" duties we have and the emphasis of those responsibilities being owned by "us".