The U.S. Embassy in Phnom Penh today joined the celebration of the 30th anniversary of World Monuments Fund (WMF) at Phnom Bakheng, Siem Reap.
This celebration took place under the presidency of H.E. Mrs. Phoeurng Sackona, Minister of Culture and Fine Arts and Charge d’Affaires at the U.S. Embassy Mr. Michael Newbill, and representatives from WMF.
The celebration today is a testament to the longstanding and productive relationship between the United States, the WMF and the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts through the Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP) which has supported cultural heritage preservation in Cambodia since 2001.
Since 2004, WMF, through the AFCP, has restored and preserved the 10th century temple of Phnom Bakheng with a contribution totaling US$3,229,000. WMF has trained over 100 Cambodians to become cultural heritage professionals and created a new generation of experts in architecture, archeology and engineering since its arrival in Cambodia in1989.
The WMF project at Phnom Bakheng has been funded almost continuously by the U.S. government since 2004 and the site has had 15 years of uninterrupted activity. The site is one of the most important archaeological sites in Southeast Asia.
“I am very proud that the Phnom Bakheng restoration project is the largest Ambassador’s fund project anywhere in the world,” said Mr. Michael Newbill. “Through the 2003 MoU on cultural property between the U.S. and Cambodia (renewed in 2008, 2013 and 2018), you can see the strong record of cooperation between our governments and our commitment to bilateral cooperation on cultural heritage preservation.”
The U.S government is proud of this cooperation and project and hopes to support the long-term conservation programme at Phnom Bakheng as they enter phase 6 for work on the unrestored Western half of the temple pyramid.