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Festival of Ideas - Call for Speakers

Vision of the Kingdom in the next 20 years

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Cambodia is expected to become a higher middle-income country in 2030 and a high-income country in 2050. However, the current global issues such as the COVID-19 pandemic and the world’s rising inflation have socially and economically interrupted the country’s development.

Despite challenges, with the recent government’s economic recovery framework and the efforts put by stakeholders in recovering the economy. Cambodia’s economy bounces back with forecasted economic growth at 5.5 percent and 6 percent in 2023 and 2024 respectively.[1] 

Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung and The Asia Foundation are hosting the Cambodia’s Festival of Ideas (CFI) which is a platform featuring Cambodian strategic thinkers whose experience and knowledge could envisage the future vision of Cambodia’s development in the next 20 years. The CFI gives a platform to experts, thought leaders and youth leaders from diverse fields, including politics, governance, environmental sustainability, entrepreneurship, art, academia, and civil society. The event will provide an opportunity for these experts to engage with each other and the public, to exchange ideas, and to generate new insights and perspectives on the future of Cambodia.


Vision for the Kingdom in the Next 20 Years will be the selected theme of the CFI and it will cover four areas. Each area will cover a wide range of topics that might include but not limited to topics below:

        1. Civic Engagement 

  • Youth civic engagement and policy making
  • The impact of social media on civic engagement
  • Electoral behavior in Cambodia
  • E-voter registration

        2. Sustainability and the Environment 

  • The emergence of electric cars
  • Future of Phnom Penh city: the role of public transportation and green spaces
  • Green renewable energy expansion
  • Sustainable tourism and its impact on local communities and environment

         3. Culture and Art 

  • Promoting Cambodia’s soft power through music and art 
  • Cambodia’s food diplomacy
  • The role of Cambodian cuisine in defining Cambodian identity
  • What is it to be Khmer

          4. Digitization

  • The role of Fin-Tech
  • Cybersecurity and data protection
  • Circular economy
  • AI in education


The objectives of CFI are:

  • To provide a conducive and open platform for Cambodian strategic thinkers and policymakers alike to share their innovative and creative ideas and visions for the future of Cambodia’s development.
  • To engage and bridge the gap between Cambodian strategic thinkers/policymakers and the broader audience, including youth, in discussions about visions for the future of Cambodia.
  • To connect and provide community-led networking events and opportunities between policymakers/strategic thinkers and the broader audience.



The CFI will be conducted using a slide-free presentation. The arrangement of the stage will be a TED-Talk inspired with a maximum of 15 minutes’ time limit. The talk shall be inspiring, catching and the content must be precise and straight to the point.


Presentation for the event will be categorized into two types including:

  • Headliners: influential people in their respective fields are invited to provide general background knowledge and set the scene for the topic. They will provide knowledge that could envisage the future vision of Cambodia’s development in the next 20 years.


  • Speakers: an open call for speakers will be announced to look for passionate and inspiring individuals to present ideas, insights, and experiences on a diverse range of topics. The selected candidates will voice out their ideas and opinion after the headliner finishes their talk.



  • The applicants must meet the following set of requirements:
  • Must be Cambodians and living in Cambodia;
  • Presentation topic(s) must focus on the chosen theme of CFI;
  • The ideas must be original, innovative, constructive, and forward-thinking about Cambodia’s development in the next 20 years and how Cambodia should prepare for its future development.; and
  • Successful applicants must be able to present their idea in English.



  • Successful applicants will have the opportunity to present ideas and engage with policy actors , experts, researchers, students, and young professionals at the CFI event.
  • The successful applicant’s idea will be published in the magazine of ideas.
  • The successful applicant’s presentation will be filmed and shared to reach a wider audience.
  • Each successful applicant will receive a $200 honorarium.


How to Apply:

Interested applicants may submit

  • the abstract of your presentation
  •  CV
  • a sample video of your speaking 

To apply, please click here 

The application must be submitted no later than 31st August 2023 at 23:59 (Cambodia Time). Only shortlisted applicants will be notified.


**Submission of Abstract: the abstract must be 300-500 words long that presents innovative and creative ideas that picture the future of Cambodia’s development in the next 20 years; the abstract shall contain the following information:

  • Description of the idea – what will be Cambodia like in the next 20 years? How Cambodia should prepare for its future development??
  • Why are your ideas important for the country’s future development?
  • What are your practical suggestions to implement your ideas?


Key Dates 

  • Application deadline :  31st August 2023
  • Successful applicants notified : September 2023
  • Event Day : 28 October 2023


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