“I’m moved, and I can tell you right now that this is going to be a longstanding relationship based on what I’ve seen today,” said Ambassador Skip Boyce, President of Boeing Southeast Asia on his visit to Digital Divide Data (DDD) on Wednesday, January 27.
In a room filled with Cambodia’s key leaders from the business and development sector, Boyce abandoned the speech he had prepared for this occasion, because, he said, in such a friendly and intimate environment he would rather speak from the heart. “Boeing is not doing business in Cambodia; that is not why we are here.”
Boyce, former American diplomat to Indonesia and Thailand, was in Phnom Penh with other Boeing colleagues to launch the aviation giant’s new partnership with DDD in Cambodia. Boeing generously donated $50,000 through their Global Corporate Citizen program to support the education and IT training that DDD provides for disadvantaged youth. DDD and Boeing connected in late 2008 through the Clinton Global Initiative, a non-partisan catalyst that works to bring together a community of global leaders in an effort to stimulate innovative solutions to some of the world’s most pressing problems. Also in attendance at the reception were U.S. Ambassador Carol Rodley, and DDD’s CEO and co-founder Jeremy Hockenstein, as well as a number of executives and special guests.
Ambassadors Boyce and Rodley visited the DDD office prior to the reception, where more than 300 young Cambodians are employed in entry-level IT jobs as operators, while they are also obtaining a college degree. Operators generally work at DDD for four to five years, after which they graduate to higher level jobs that earn them six times the average income in Cambodia.
Skip Boyce complimented DDD’s work and highlighted how the organization provides opportunity to a generation of Cambodians who are eager to take it: “They are young adults who could be face down in the rice paddy, but they’re not. They’re looking up,” said Boyce.
In photo, from left: DDD CEO and co-founder Jeremy Hockenstein, General Manager Kunthy Kann, U.S. Ambassador Carol Rodley, DDD COO Mai Siriphongpanh, and President of Boeing Southeast Asia Skip Boyce.