The 2010 BarCamp Phnom Penh, which will take place on September 25 and 26, is expected to gather around 1,000 IT enthusiasts. In its official press release, one of the organizers of the “unconference meeting” identified the objectives of the event:
“The idea is to bring the like-minded people together to witness the greatness of the BarCamp. It is the time when people are free to share and at the same time, being shared. You cannot tell how much you improve after participating in such event but I can tell that if you truly follow its rules, you will find the excitement of the event. And the rule is simple: participate.”
Samsokrith continues by explaining how the BarCamp is structured:
How the BarCamp works is relatively easy. If you have a topic, and you want to present or discuss about it, post that topic on the presentation slot on the board and then you’ll be given a room and time to do your presentation or discussion with the participants.”
This 2010 BarCamp Phnom Penh is the third BarCamp event in Cambodia since 2008. In the past years, bloggers, non profit groups and the business community provided enormous support and dynamic participation which made the previous BarCamps successful. Vutha Morn, one of the IT-related meetup fans, appeals to his blog readers not to miss such an exciting gathering:
“I never missed the two previous BarCamp Phnom Penh held in 2008 and 2009. I really earned more knowledge about IT. This third event, I will join it too. How about you? Do not miss this special event.”
In the same BarCamp's press release, Samrith continues to highlight the high expectations for this year's event with the hope of attracting a “bigger number of participants and to help them to see more of the beauty of BarCamp concept, and altogether, participate in a dynamic discussion of the national and regional technological evolution we are undergoing, where technology is a fast growing part of our daily life.”
Such statement reflects the current state of internet accessibility in Cambodia. Though the internet penetration rate in Cambodia is still limited with 9.8% in 2009, this figure is expected to improve with the projected expansion of more internet service providers. New tools are also available such as the use of mobile phones or mobile internet modems which allow netizens to easily access the internet anywhere with prepaid cards.
Moreover, the BarCamp is a good example of an event where regular people share their expertise about fascinating subjects in a laid back environment. This is the observation of Preetam Rai, the former South East Asian editor for Global Voices Online and one of the prominent bloggers in Asia. Here is Preetam's views on the impact of the BarCamp model:
“Slowly and subtly, a learning revolution is taking place across Asia. One force behind this revolution is the event known as BarCamp. A BarCamp is open, free and has no ﬁxed schedule or speakers. Barcamps borrow or steal venues, use social networks for publicity, and depend on participants to make the event successful.”
He also applauded the big number of participants in the First BarCamp in Myanmar which was attended by more than 2,000 people from all over the country. The BarCamp also promotes cross-culture tolerance and Preetam cites the Cambodian BarCamp experience:
“In the most recent Cambodian BarCamp, Khmer and Thai attendees ignored a then-simmering border temple dispute in order to focus on developing tech ideas for non-proﬁts.
Whether or not this year's BarCamp event in Cambodia will meet its goals of promoting learning and cultural tolerance through the information revolution, please join the countdown today and participate in the event.