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AUW Graduate Duth Kimsru of Cambodia Meets with President Obama at Roundtable of Emerging Leaders
19, Mar, 2018

Duth Kimsru, graduate of the inaugural AUW class, with former US president Barack Obama and young leaders from ASEAN. Photo courtesy of Obama Foundation Twitter via Business Insider Singapore.

Singapore—March 19, 2018On Monday, March 19th, AUW graduate Duth Kimsru (Class of 2013) and nine other emerging leaders of southeast Asian nations, met with former president of the United States, Barack Obama, in Singapore. The roundtable was held to identify how the Obama Foundation can help support these changemakers’ missions and visions for positive impact in their communities.

Duth Kimsru represented Cambodia at this roundtable as the Project Coordinator for Promoting Education, Empowering Youth (PEPY), a Cambodia-based education and youth leadership non-profit organization. In this role, Kimsru organizes and teaches “Dream Classes” for Cambodian adolescents along the Thai border. These “Dream Classes” help to propel students along their educational journeys by connecting them with opportunities and scholarships.

Duth Kimsru was born in Cambodia in a village of only 15 families. There was no electricity, running water, or a hospital; the local school only taught students up to Grade 6. In order to afford further her schooling, Kimsru helped with her mother’s second job, laundering neighbor’s clothing by hand. In her final year of high school, Kimsru was given a brochure for AUW’s Access Academy, which showed photos of women of many nationalities doing sciences experiments and using computers. “The brochures were written in English,” Kimsru remembers, “and I know only a little bit [of] English. But, I was so excited at the pictures that I had seen, that I sat with the brochures and an English dictionary to check almost every word until I could understand what it said.”

When Kimsru enrolled in AUW, she was the first person in her family to attend university. While at University, Kimsru participated in Model United Nations and Public Speaking Club, completed community service with children in nearby villages, and majored in Politics, Philosophy and Economics. Kimsru also completed a summer internship with PEPY, where she helped children to identify health and environmental issues in their rural villages.

Listen to Kimsru’s story in her own words: