The Harpswell Foundation has two dormitories in Phnom Penh that provide room, board and leadership training to up to 80 young women while they attend university. Our in-house curriculum includes critical thinking, analytical writing, debate, civic engagement, current events; and computer, English and French lessons. As of Fall 2020, 184 young women have graduated from Harpswell, and are making their mark in Cambodia or in their studies abroad.
Harpswell’s students participate in rigorous in-house classes while also attending university. Students attend twice-weekly English and French classes, as well as computer instruction for new students. Our in-house core curriculum includes critical thinking, analytical writing, debate, civic engagement, job skills, health and nutrition and genocide studies. The centerpiece of Harpswell’s curriculum are the twice-weekly CD discussions, in which teams of students research a recent news article which they then present to their fellow students, who together analyze and explore it for content, bias and relevance to other issues of the day. These regular discussions develop the students’ critical thinking abilities, as well as knowledge of current events and public speaking skills.
At least one Sunday each month, the students join together in the Great Hall of Women to welcome a Leadership Seminar speaker: an accomplished individual from the public or private sector who is invited to talk about their life and career. Past speakers have included Cambodian government ministers, US Ambassadors, Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, rabbis, monks, scholars, NGO directors and staff, scientists, architects and journalists.
Harpswell is always on the lookout for highly intelligent high school seniors with ambition and leadership potential. We seek smart, independent thinkers who have a vision for their future and want to help their society.
Each year, Harpswell travels throughout Cambodia to recruit top high school students who demonstrate intelligence, leadership potential and independent thinking. In the spring, we ask high school principals and partner NGOs to nominate exceptional young women. Our staff tours the country to interview each nominated student, and asks them to complete an application and write an essay in English or Khmer. We make a shortlist of candidates based on this information, then make final selections in September, when we receive their National High School Examination results. New students start in late October, in time to begin the new semester in early November. Harpswell accepts less than 10% of qualified nominated students.
Click here to learn more about recruiting for Harpswell, or if you’d like to contact us to see if you are qualified to apply.