King Norodom Sihamoni will attend the 41st General Assembly of UNESCO on the occasion of its 75th anniversary, which is scheduled for November 10-14 in the French capital Paris.
In a press release on November 8, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said the King was invited by UNESCO director-general Audrey Azoulay.
The press release added that on November 12 – with an audience consisting in part of numerous heads of state, leaders of national governments and other dignitaries – the King will deliver a speech at the General Assembly’s formal opening ceremony which will focus on the main achievements of UNESCO in Cambodia.
Since its establishment in 1945, UNESCO has made significant contributions towards the promotion of education, science, culture and communications in the world through cooperative and multilateral programmes, according to the press release.
Foreign ministry spokesman Koy Kuong could not be reached for comment on November 8.
However, Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts spokesman Long Ponna Sirivath told The Post that at the event the King would comment on Cambodia’s achievements as a UNESCO member, including Cambodia’s additions to the UNESCO World Heritage List and Intangible Heritage of Humanity List, among other highlights.
He added that the King will be accompanied by culture minister Phoeurng Sackona who is currently in France on other missions.
Additionally, Cambodia’s ambassador to France and other embassy officials as well as members of the Cambodian National Commission for UNESCO will all attend, with many of the latter group having already arrived in Paris.
“Her Excellency Phoeurng Sackona, chairperson of the Cambodian National Commission for UNESCO, plans to attend on behalf of the Royal Government of Cambodia.
“King Sihamoni – acting as the Head of State – will deliver a speech to the assembly. Through good international diplomacy and active UNESCO membership, Cambodia has helped to promote the preservation, protection and development of culture, economy, society and science,” he said.
Ponna Sirivath added that when Cambodia became a member of UNESCO, the nation was then placed under an obligation to conduct studies to determine which temples to include on the World Heritage List and this project helped the government focus its conservation efforts.
He noted that UNESCO has played an important role in the conservation and protection of Cambodian culture by helping Cambodia coordinate with its development partner countries that have all offered a great deal of assistance to Cambodia over the years.
He also noted that UNESCO has contributed greatly to the preservation of the Kingdom’s heritage, history and culture on the international stage through Cambodia’s inclusion on the World Heritage List and the Intangible Heritage of Humanity List.