Three students from the University of Fine Arts won prizes from UNESCO on Aug. 13
for posters they had designed to raise public awareness about the importance of protecting
Cambodia's cultural heritage.
The winners were chosen from 75 entries, all first, second and third year students
from the Fine Arts University, for their artistic merit, originality, use of traditional
Khmer themes and impact of their work.
Twelve other contestants received consolation prizes.
Many of the posters were enriched with beautiful water colors, and had similar themes
of protecting, preserving and maintaining Khmer artworks, and condemning those who
steal the ancient pieces. Underneath the portraits were written warnings such as,
"Stop destroying national, cultural property and the national patrimony".
Richard Engelhard, UNESCO's head in Phnom Penh , said the three grand prize winning
posters would be printed for public distribution and the works of the 12 consolation
prize winners would be used to produce a calendar.
He said UNESCO would at the same time display all the posters at its head office
in Paris as part of attempts to inform the world about the problems Cambodia is having
trying to save its cultural property.
Present at the ceremony were Minister for Culture Nuth Narang and his deputy Vice
Minister Michel Tranet, Vice Foreign Minister Phi Thach, Vice Tourism Minister Sam
Prumnea as well as other high level officials from the Ministries of Culture, Tourism,
Foreign Affairs, and Interior and National Security.
In a speech to the ceremony, Minster Narang raised an appeal to civilians and soldiers
throughout the country to help keep an eye on cultural property. He said his ministry
will expand cultural activities to make them an everyday part of life and will organize
programs to educate people so that they can understand the value of the country's
UNESCO has already organized a couple of seminars for groups of people from all sectors
of society, including the police and tourism staff, concerning the protection of
ancient temples and statues.
Engelhard said UNESCO was also planning to catalogue all of Cambodia's cultural treasures
to help trace them in the event they are stolen.