Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative Visit to Phnom Bakheng
On April 25, 2015, a group of 110 students, primarily from ASEAN countries, visited the World Monuments Fund conservation program at the temple of Phnom Bakheng. The students were participants in the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI), a program of the U.S. government designed to strengthen leadership development and networking in Southeast Asia. The visit to Phnom Bakheng was part of the Generation: EARTH workshop that the students organized together with Paññ?s?stra University of Cambodia in Siem Reap. The students selected Phnom Bakheng because they believe WMF’s work addresses the themes of environmental actions, responsibility, and teamwork.
A group of three members of the WMF team accompanied the students and introduced them to WMF, its history in Cambodia, and the work undertaken at the temple: from the conservation efforts to the tourism management issues addressed, and from the collaboration with the APSARA authority to the commitment to guaranteeing the best working conditions to its employees, who are all Cambodian nationals.
About half of the participants had a particular interest in cultural heritage preservation, given their university studies or their jobs. The intense participation and the many questions on basically every aspect of the work contributed to engaging the WMF senior team members in a dynamic and passionate visit. Interest was shown towards WMF’s presence in other ASEAN countries too. WMF greatly enjoyed the visit and is looking forward to welcoming more students at its worksite.