Policy perfect?

06 August 2020

Heimkhemra Suy studied the Master of Public Policy at Crawford School because he wanted to go beyond identifying problems, to offering tangible solutions too.

When Heimkhemra came to Crawford, he was hoping to find perfect policy solutions. Instead he learned that there is no such thing as a flawless policy.

Studying at Crawford was an obvious choice for him, having heard about the expertise of the School’s academics and the outstanding support system at ANU.

“I came here hoping I would learn how to create the perfect policy, but that’s just not how it works. For example, learning from Professor Sharon Bessell, I found out about the complexity of development policies, and that different approaches have different strengths. I also learned that there is no such thing as the ‘perfect development policy’.

“I heard about Crawford from my friends and colleagues and they highly recommended I go there. And they were right, I really got a world-class education here. I was able to learn from academics who not only had in-depth expertise, but also practical experience, which is crucial for public policy.

“On top of that, Crawford offered such a supportive environment. The School has a fantastic team of academics, and they did such a great job at supporting me. I left school six years ago, so it was difficult to come back to academic study at first.”

Next to Professor Bessell’s course on development policy, Heimkhemra also really enjoyed economics.

“Dr Mark Fabian taught us that as policy professionals, we had to understand the basic economic principles underlying our decisions. He taught us in a way that helped us really enjoy learning about economics.”

Heimkhemra’s interest in public policy was first sparked when he was working for the British Embassy in Cambodia.

He also realised that there were many issues to address in the country, but that there weren’t many people offering tangible solutions.

With the help of the Australia Awards scholarship, his dream of studying in Australia and finding some answers to his most pressing policy questions came true.

“Before coming to Crawford, I worked as Senior Political Officer at the British Embassy in Cambodia. As part of that role, I was involved in identifying development areas where the British could support Cambodia. This is how I grew more interested in public policy.

“Cambodia is a developing country, and arguably, we face a lot of development issues. People complain about this, but not many actually know how to do better. I want to be able to offer pragmatic solutions.

“Thanks to the generosity of the Australian people, I got an Australia Awards Scholarship. There were a lot of requirements – from specific experience that goes with your study proposal to English language fluency. It was really competitive.”

At the moment, Heimkhemra is hunting for a job and is actively writing pieces for academic blogs.

“I’ve just finished my quarantine and I’m now applying for jobs. In the future, I’d like to work for a government institution and use my economics knowledge that I picked up at Crawford.

“I recently wrote about the assessment of Cambodia’s fiscal response to COVID-19. The pandemic has caused serious damage to the country’s economy, so I highlighted the policy challenges and used my knowledge from my public finance class to provide advice to the Cambodian government. At the end, it’s really about providing solutions.”

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Updated:  20 August 2022/Responsible Officer:  Crawford Engagement/Page Contact:  CAP Web Team