Wednesday, July 12, 2006

The multi-talented Ang Choulean

On the eve of a 5-day international conference to be held at the University of Sydney in Australia under the title, Angkor - Landscape, City & Temple, one of the keynote speakers is a man intimately linked with Cambodia's heritage and cultural identity for many years, Ang Choulean. The line-up of speakers reads like a who's who of Cambodian heritage and includes David Chandler, Milton Osborne, Michael Vickery, Claude Jacques, Son Soubert and Roland Fletcher. Ang Choulean, as a former Director General of APSARA - the authority responsible for the research, protection and conservation of Angkor - an author and noted expert on Khmer folk beliefs, takes a deserved place amongst such esteemed scholars.

Now 56 years old, Ang Choulean (pictured) was born in Kompong Khleang, one of seven children. After studying archaeology in Phnom Penh, he spent the Khmer Rouge years in Paris, completing his doctorate in anthropology in 1982. He became a professor of historical anthropology at the Royal University of Fine Arts in Phnom Penh in 1990 and has lectured on the ancient Khmer civilization ever since, specialising in religious enthnology. A research associate of the EFEO, he later took over as Director General of Culture and the Angkor Monuments, was the commissioner of the exhibition of Khmer art that toured Paris, Washington, Tokyo and Osaka in 1998 and has published books and journals on his work, including co-editing UDAYA, an annual journal of Khmer studies.

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