News Release

Cambodian Dignitaries Travel to Attend Law and Religion Symposium at Brigham Young University

Crisp, autumn air of October, greeted dignitary delegates from Cambodia, Her Excellency Dr. Ing Kantha Phavi, Minister of Women’s Affairs, and her husband, His Excellency Trac Thai Sieng, Vice Governor Phnom Penh, attending the 23rd Annual Law and Religion Symposium held at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. They were accompanied by their daughter and Harvard graduate, Moni A. Trac. Their acceptance to this invitation came as valued associations, over several years, have developed a warm friendship between this exceptional family and members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.


This year’s Symposium “Religious Rights in a Pluralistic World” brought together 95 invited delegates, including scholars, jurists, political and civil society leaders, and religious leaders and religion policy makers from 45 countries, providing them an important opportunity for engagement on issues of religion, law, and policy. Speakers and panelists explored many facets of religious rights on such issues as religious rights and culture, exemptions, discrimination, minorities and majorities.


Dr. Phavi and Vice Governor Trac were invited to individually speak to attendees at the forum, and both also participated in meaningful panel discussions throughout the three-day event. 

“I truly believe that practitioners from different religions can and must together achieve the common goals of tolerance, compassion, understanding and harmony for stability and peace within societies and between peoples,” said Dr. Ing Kantha Phavi as she delivered her remarks.

She concluded, “I would like to  emphasize the linkages that, in my understanding, exist between Buddhism and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, most especially, the genuine acknowledgment of both religions to women and mothers for their valuable contributions to societies all over the world.”

As the Symposium came to a close, both remarked they were grateful to be able to address the assembled international religion and law attendees from all parts of the world.

Preceding the Symposium, delegates were invited and visited the Church’s Conference Center in Salt Lake City, on Sunday morning, to attend the morning session of the 186th worldwide semi-annual General Conference of the Church, and enjoyed seeing and hearing the world famous Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

“We were overwhelmed with the beauty and enormity of the Conference Center and were impressed with the organization and efficiency of the church as well as the dedication of the members," expressed Vice Governor Trac.


“We were able to learn so much more about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and were treated so warmly it felt like family,” adding, “we will not soon forget the total experience.”

At the conclusion of the Symposium, their family visited Temple Square and other Mormon sites, including the Visitors' Center, remarking they found Salt Lake City to be a beautiful, clean and peaceful city.

“I am particularly impressed with the emphasis and clarity of family values,” remarked Dr. Phavi, “principles of sound moral objectives.”

Cambodia, the country, it’s people and it’s faith were well represented, among a variety of nations around the globe, with dignity and decorum by these respected, stellar, leaders. 

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