In order to provide an opportunity for architectural students to understand ancient buildings and gain experience in stone conservation, the Apsara National Authority (ANA) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with two private universities on the preservation of ancient buildings.

The signing took place on December 13 between the ANA, and Build Bright University and Angkor University in Siem Reap.

The ceremony was held in front of Banteay Samre Temple, which is currently undergoing preservation work by a group of German experts. The architectural students got the chance to discuss the work with the Germans.

ANA deputy director-general Kim Sothin said that the decision of the ANA’s Department of Conservation of Monuments and Preventive Archaeology to sign the MoU was made after officials from Germany’s international development agency GIZ, which specialises in stone conservation in the temple complex, said the number of Cambodians who understand how to repair and treat ancient temple stones remains small.

“This is an excellent opportunity for private universities to train students in the preservation and conservation of ancient buildings,” he said.

Pin Somony, dean of the Faculty of Architectural Engineering at Angkor University, and Chhuon Phearun, branch director of Build Bright University in Siem Reap, expressed their optimism for the future, now that the MoU had been signed.

The two academics expressed hopes that the ANA and GIZ would train enough students that they could make a real contribution to the preservation of the Kingdom’s precious ancient temples.