A special gala night to help raise funds for a new peace museum in Battambang will be held in Siem Reap this week.
Luu Meng’s Malis Restaurant will host the Lotus Gala on Saturday, organised by the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, which is also managing the museum project in Battambang.
The centre’s director Nikki Singer said the gala night will feature leading Cambodia musician Laura Mam and other attractions.
“The Lotus Gala is will be an incredible evening to promote the Cambodia Peace Museum and our vision for the project,” she said.
“We’ve chosen the lotus theme to reflect the journey of growth and transformation. Overcoming decades of war, Cambodia continues to grow and develop. The evening’s performers were chosen to also reflect the journey of music and arts.
“Guests will be welcomed by traditional music from Cambodia Living Arts, followed by a unique live painting show by Phare, the Cambodian Circus as a transition from the past to the future.
“We’re delighted that Laura Mam is joining this year as a modern Khmer artist. We really wanted to have her on board because of her pride in Cambodian culture and strong passion for original music.”
The centre has been on a strong fundraising drive to make the proposed museum a reality. Building of the museum is now underway, but Singer declined to give details of the project’s cost.
“Construction began at the beginning of September this year, and we expect to open in 2018,” she said. “Funding for the construction of the museum has largely been through private donations and fundraising events like this year’s gala. We also partnered with the Australian embassy to host an exhibition titled Resilience in 2016 commemorating the 25th anniversary of the Paris Peace Accords.”
Singer said the idea of the museum began with Cambodian peace activist Soth Plai Ngarm, who wanted somewhere for Cambodians to share, learn, and reflect on their country’s journey from war to peace in a way that would contribute to healing and reconciliation.
She added: “The idea has been nurtured and developed by people who have worked on different peace-building initiatives, such as the Cambodia Campaign to Ban Landmines, the Working Group on Weapons Reductions, and the Dhammayietra peace walks, to create a museum that contributes to positive nationalism rooted in the accomplishments of Cambodia.”
She said the museum will have exhibits exploring the peace process and the transition period following the Paris Peace Accords, and addressing physical remnants of war such as
landmines and weapons reduction.
“There will also be exhibits that showcase how Cambodians use what they’ve learned here to contribute to peace in the world, through peacekeeping missions and demining work,” she added. “In addition to the exhibits, we are designing educational programmes for Cambodian university students through the museum.”
The Lotus Gala is on Saturday from 7-11pm at Malis Restaurant in Siem Reap. Tickets cost $60 and include canapés and two hours free-flow wine and beer. There will also be a raffle with 10 prizes from top hotels and restaurants to adventures around Cambodia.