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Carol A. Rodley, U.S. Ambassador to Cambodia, Visits Phnom Bakheng

On February 12, 2011 Glenn Boornazian, Director of Projects at Angkor for World Monuments Fund, joined the United States Ambassador to Cambodia, Carol A. Rodley, and her guests at Phnom Bakheng to review conservation work in progress. The U.S. Department of State is the most significant funder of WMF's Phnom Bakheng project, which is undertaken in closecoordination with the Authority for the Protection and Management of Angkor and the Region of Siem Reap (APSARA). Since the ambassador's last visit in 2010, much has been accomplished.

WMF employs more than 100 Cambodians, a group made up of professionals, administrators, and craftsmen at three project sites: Phnom Bakheng, Angkor Wat, and Preah Khan. The ambassador's visit was an opportunity for Cambodian craftspeople and professionals working on the site to demonstrate their expertise and explain current activities at Phnom Bakheng.

APSARA and UNESCO's Ad Hoc Experts Committee for Angkor have approved WMF's methodology and use of materials at the site. A crane installed in an earlier phase of the project continues to be essential to the smooth maintenance of the work plan.

Besides progress on the conservation of the east elevation of the central shrine and training to install the waterproof membrane, WMF carried out the second phase of its Brick Shrine Work-shop, initiated in 2010. Assisted by UNESCO Ad Hoc member Giorgio Croci, great progress was made at developing procedures for structural stabilization and conservation of brick shrine G10. What we learn here will be applied to other brick shrines at Phnom Bakheng and later to other sites where similar brick shrines are present throughout the ancient city of Angkor.

Working closely with APSARA, WMF is developing a preliminary tourist management plan, the first phase of which will be implemented later this year to protect the monument from being overwhelmed by the large numbers of tourists who visit the site each day to see the sunset. The intent is to encourage more frequent visits to the site by visitors throughout the day, rather than only arriving during the last hour of daylight.

WMF and Ambassador Rodley are pleased to announce that the first phase of the Phnom Bakheng site management workshop will take place in New York City the week of May 16, 2011.