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Preserving Cambodia's Culture

The United States will provide nearly one-million dollars to help Cambodia preserve a precious part of its proud culture. U.S. Embassy Charge’ d’Affaires Piper Campbell announced that the U.S. government will provide over nine-hundred-seventy-eight-thousand dollars for continued preservation and conservation work at Phnom Bakheng Temple, located within historic Angkor.

The project is being supported by a grant from the U.S. Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation. Administered by the U.S. Department of State, U.S. Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation provides direct grant support for heritage preservation in developing countries. Established in 2001, the fund has supported four-hundred-thirty-seven projects worldwide, totaling more than eleven-million dollars.

The new grant is being awarded to the World Monuments Fund to conduct a second phase of conservation work at Phnom Bakheng that will focus on the temple’s most damaged side. Phase one of the work at the temple – conducted between 2004 and 2007 with a separate grant from the U.S. State Department – included archaeological research, conservation assessments, the creation of a plan for the management of tourism at the site, and emergency conservation measures.

Over the last several years, the U.S. government has provided more than eight-hundred-sixty-six thousand dollars to fund cultural preservation projects in Cambodia. U.S. museums and foundations continue to work with their Cambodian counterparts on efforts to repair and catalogue Cambodia’s treasures. In addition, the U.S. and Cambodia are currently in the process of renewing the 2003 bilateral agreement that imposes import restrictions on Khmer archaeological materials entering the U.S. This agreement made it possible for the U.S. government to repatriate to Cambodia last year a looted sandstone carving of an Apsara dancer smuggled into the United States.

“The Historic City of Angkor is one of the world’s cultural and architectural wonders,” said U.S. Embassy Charge’ d’Affaires Piper Campbell. “Conserving its monuments, which are a crucial part of Cambodian history,” she said, “is one way to promote peace and prosperity in the country.”