A total of $4.5 million has been given to Cambodia by the United States government over the past 19 years for cultural heritage protection, said Phoeurng Sackona, Minister of Culture and Fine Art.
Speaking at a panel discussion on Women in Cultural Preservation hosted by the US Embassy on Friday, the minister said the funds allocated have been used for various activities, including renovation at Phnom Bakheng temple, Banteay Srei temple, and Preah Vihear temple; improve exhibition and education programmes for the Angkor Borei Museum; preserve the archives of the National Museum; preserve clothes worn by those living under Khmer Rouge administration, among others.
“Culture is a tool to help provide, share and preserve knowledge of the nation’s soul,” said Ms Sackona.
“With the help from the US, we have been able to preserve Cambodian heritage and documents,” she said.
Celebrating the 70th anniversary of diplomatic ties between United States and Cambodia, the US is still able to continue being committed to protecting cultural heritage preservation in the Kingdom.
“The preservation of history and culture for generations to come at heritage sites is invaluable for economic stimulation of surrounding areas. Heritage sites are important tourist attractions and protecting them is important to economic growth for any country fortunate to have such assets,” read a press release.
A memorandum of understanding has been signed every five years since 2003. This enables Cambodia in repatriating priceless artifacts stolen from the country. In 2019, 42 sculptures have been received from the US
Ms Sackona said the ministry and embassy are collaborating to find other Cambodian sculptures in the U.S. to bring home.