Save the Khmer Language Program at the University of Washington
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In 2012, the Khmer Student Association (KhSA) at the University of Washington recognized the need for a Khmer language course. In collaboration with an American Ethnic Studies professor, a former KhSA member sought to create a Khmer language program for future students.
Since its establishment, the program has created opportunities, including, but not limited to:
- Reversing the effects of Westernization (decolonization) associated with the loss of language and formalities
- Compensating for the lack of resources both on- and off-campus due to the Khmer Diaspora
- Serving communities outside of campus, as a means of expanding accessibility of language
Language preservation is vital in retaining cultural identity and roots, especially for the underrepresented and often, disadvantaged, Khmer community.
Earlier in 2017, UW KhSA received news that the grant the university uses to fund the language program is facing an uncertain future. Without further action, the Khmer language studies program is at risk of being discontinued in the 2018-2019 school year. We call on the administration to be accountable for its mission of diversity and inclusion by designating the program as a part of UW’s permanent budget to create a more sustainable Khmer language studies program that does not rely on temporary funding.
We, the members of the community, express our concern for the future of the Khmer language program at the University of Washington. We recognize the academic merit the program offers through the study of Khmer language, culture, and history as well as the importance of the program in the development of the community. Therefore, we pledge our support of the Khmer Student Association in the campaign to maintain funding for the Khmer language program at the University of Washington.
In keeping the Khmer language studies program at the University of Washington, we believe the university will not only be investing in further scholarship in different fields for students, they will also be investing in the relationship between the community and the university. We invite you to join us in this movement to advocate for the continuation of this program.
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