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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Poster Awards

Poster Awards

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

centuries-old heritage.

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.

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