Cambodia will on January 15 launch the Asian Cultural Council as it hosts the first session in Siem Reap. The Kingdom hopes to bring about 700 national and international participants from over 50 countries in Asia to discuss cultural issues. Prime Minister Hun Sen, who serves as the ACC’s honorary founding chairman, is aiming to preserve and restore cultural heritage. Council of Ministers spokesman Ek Tha speaks to Khmer Times COO Kay Kimsong to outline the international event.
Khmer Times: What is Asian Cultural Council all about?
Mr Tha: It is an affiliate of the International Conference of Asian Political Parties. The ICAPP has more than 350 political parties from ruling and opposition parties, all from 52 countries across Asia.
The ACC was an initiative of Cambodia, China, Russia and Nepal. In May 2018, the ICAPP nominated Prime Minister Hun Sen as the ACC’s Honourary Founding Chairman, it also nominated lawmaker Khuon Sudary as the Chairwoman of the ICAPP Standing Committee and lawmaker Suos Yara as ACC director-general.
During the 10th General Assembly of the ICAPP in October in Moscow, a declaration supporting the establishment of a cooperation agreement with Unesco was declared. Having the bureau of the ACC chaired by Cambodia contributes to the expansion of the ICAPP’s role in providing platforms for strengthening cooperation with international organisations, such as Unesco.
Khmer Times: Why is it important to organise and host this event in Cambodia?
Mr Tha: It is very important – important in a sense that we are showing the diversity of cultures in Asian countries that have rich cultural heritage. This is why it is very important to have the international event to be held in Siem Reap. The ACC will be launched in Cambodia and Cambodia will gain international support in terms of diplomacy, investment, trade, tourism, culture, and in many other fields. So the international event is very important because it will bring along high-ranking officials and leaders from the executive and legislative branches of member countries.
We have already sent out invitations to more than 50 ICAPP member countries and also ACC member countries. So far, 20 have confirmed.
This event will send a strong message, telling the outside world that Cambodia has fully achieved peace, stability and economic development.
We will show the international audience that what they see with their own eyes is a much developed Cambodia.
Khmer Times: How many guests do you expect to attend the event?
Mr Tha: We expect to welcome about 700 guests. VVIPs from China, Indonesia and other countries in the region will attend. As for the ACC only, we have about 400 guests. A gala dinner is to be hosted on January 15 and we can expect Prime Minister Hun Sen to give his remarks during the launching of the ACC. Artists from more than ten countries will also participate.
Khmer Times: How can Cambodia ensure security protection for national and international guests?
Mr Tha: I can assure you that under the great leadership of Prime Minister Hun Sen, this country has been enjoying peace, safety and security – from the economic and political sectors. So do not worry about security. We are fully at peace. This is why five to six million tourists visit Cambodia annually.
Khmer Times: How does Cambodia gain reputation from hosting an international event like the ACC?
Mr Tha: This is not the first time Cambodia will host an international event in Siem Reap – we have done it many times in the past. The ACC event will happen in Siem Reap and it will bring positivity through dignity because VIP guests from international countries are coming to see the country with their own eyes.
Cambodia will tremendously attract visitors to come for Cambodian heritage. We will also gain more international support through diplomacy, trade and cooperation. When they come and see the Kingdom with their own eyes, the support for Cambodia will continue to increase.
Khmer Times: Can you outline the schedule of the conference in Siem Reap on January 15 and 16?
Mr Tha: On January 15, we will have four roundtable discussions, which will focus on cultural exchange, sustainable growth, Asian cooperation, and what role does connectivity play among the 50 or so countries in the region.
We want to see Cambodia become better for the generations to come so that we they can live in the country with harmony. So we will also talk about culture conservation, restoration and developing mutual understanding.
Khmer Times: What does it mean for the country to chair the ACC?
Mr Tha: To Cambodians, we are proud to be able to organise an international event in Siem Reap, home to Angkor. We are ready to open our arms to our friends, culture plays an important role in connectivity. We want to see more culture-based tourism and more investments.
As regarding the international community, they will understand that Cambodia is at peace and has economic development. We want them to better learn and understand about the real situation in Cambodia.
Khmer Times: How will the conference contribute to the economy?
Mr Tha: It is simple: the more tourists come to Cambodia, the more revenue we will get. This is more than just an international event, it is intended to also bring tourists in the long run. The business community will of course benefit from cultural tourism.
To the whole world right now, Cambodia is seen as a model. Why was Cambodia elected? It’s because the ICAPP was confident of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s strong leadership. Cambodia can prove that there are many success stories when it comes to the preservation and restoration of cultural heritage.
We have so much experience to share to the world regarding cultural tourism.