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BEN JUSTUS visited Cambodia in 2006 and was struck by the warmth and hospitality of the country's people. During his travels he recognized that, despite Cambodia booming in tourism and economic growth, deep down it is a country rebuilding itself from
the Cambodian genocide. During his travels, he began to ask himself how a developing country like Cambodia can utilize this growing hospitality industry to alleviate poverty in local communities. Ben realized that he and others could use their backgrounds in hospitality to make a difference for the underprivileged young adults in Cambodia.
A year later, while still a student at Cornell University's School of Hotel Administration, Ben founded EGBOK (Everything's Gonna Be OK) Mission, an international nonprofit organization alleviating poverty by enabling underprivileged young adults in Cambodia to be self-supporting by providing education, training, and employment opportunities in the hospitality industry and utilizing a comprehensive approach with an emphasis on life skills development. EGBOK Mission envisions a Cambodian community where everyone has equal opportunities and has the independence and ability to shape one's own life. EGBOK Mission's Cambodia Project utilizes the growing hospitality industry as a sustainable means for young adults to lift themselves out of poverty.
In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)