On May 8, 2014, the Antiquities Coalition organized a roundtable in New York for a discussion on cultural racketeering in Cambodia and internationally. The roundtable stemmed from Antiquities Coalition’s Executive Director Tess Davis’ work as an archaeologist and advocate of Cambodian cultural heritage.
The Roundtable was led by Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister Sok An, Secretary of State Chan Tani, and Director-General of the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts, Hab Touch. The delegation engaged a group of international experts in a wide-ranging discussion about the problem of looting and the illegal trafficking in antiquities. They discussed efforts to return the 10th-century sculptural group from the Koh Ker dynasty temple to Prasat Chen.
Deputy Prime Minister Sok An summarized his perspective on cultural racketeering and the search for global solutions. He urged all to consider the three ideas he keeps in mind in his efforts to provide assistance – respect for local culture, for nature, and for communities.
He endorsed the primacy of international and Cambodian law in solving disagreements and commented that since cultural racketeering is a multifaceted, international problem, Cambodia was pleased to have many allies in the international community, including all those present.