Phnom Penh, January 16, 2019 –H.E. Kittinitekorsalbandit Bin Chhin, Standing Deputy Prime Minister, Minister in charge of the Office of the Council of Ministers, has noted that culture can contribute to peace building.
“[…] culture can also play a part in the prevention of war and in peace building. Understanding culture and preserving cultural heritage can contribute to maintaining group identity and thus can be a powerful prophylactic against war,” he said in his closing remarks at the Official Launching of the Asian Cultural Council (ACC) in Siem Reap provincial city yesterday evening.
When a group loses its own identity, it typically comes into conflict with other groups, he added, underlining that restoring cultural heritage in the wake of a conflict is an essential element in the process of reconciliation and healing communities, as a force for dialogue and conflict transformation towards mutual understanding, respect and trust.
“Culture is indeed an indispensable part of human life. It encompasses so many elements including religions, ideas, customs, ways of life and social behaviours, which differ from one country to another and from one ethnic group to another. However, I think that the difference is not a barrier to forging people and cultural connectivity and cooperation. Rather, it is a main reason why we all need to engage in dialogues so as to ensure mutual understanding, learning, respect, harmony and progress. Besides, it is the difference that makes our world vibrant and colourful, which is apparently a basis for cultural exchanges and modern-day tourism,” said the Cambodian DPM.
The people of Cambodia, he continued, are blessed with rich, long-standing culture and civilisation handed down through the generations from our ancestors and, in particular, those heroes who built the magnificent expansive site of Angkor. In spite of this, the Cambodians are humble, value and respect for the culture of others. We seek to understand about the cultures of other nations and ethnic groups and also want others to understand about our culture. This is indispensable if we all are to co-exist in harmony with mutual respect, mutual benefits and share prosperity.
This is a basis of the Win-Win Policy initiated by Samdech Techo Hun Sen, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, which put to an end the protracted civil wars and brought about full peace across the country in 1998, he said, stressing that peace and political stability constitute a necessary condition for the development of all sectors.
According to H.E. Bin Chhin, it is also an important basis of the international coordinating mechanisms for the conservation and development work at the Angkor Archaeological Park and the Historic Site of Preah Vihear Temple, known respectively as the ICC-Angkor and the ICC-Preah Vihear, which are among the most fruitful and outstanding international cooperation fronts widely participated by many countries from around the world in a strong spirit of international solidarity for the cause of World Heritage. As a matter of fact, the ICC-Angkor has become a model for international cooperation adopted by some other countries for the conservation of invaluable cultural heritage of the humanity.