Reconstructing Cambodia after the Khmer Rouge. The life experience and work of Onesta Carpené

plus MAY, 0910 2014

The Giorgio Cini Foundation Intercultural Institute of Comparative Music Studies (IISMC) has made an event dedicated to Cambodia the highlight of its 2014 programme. From 9 to 10 May 2014, the Island of San Giorgio Maggiore will host the seminar Reconstructing Cambodia after the Khmer Rouge. The life experience and work of Onesta Carpené, in order to commemorate the Veneto cooperation worker who was involved in Cambodia for almost thirty years. The event will be complemented by a photographic exhibition entitled In Cambodia. Photographs from the Tiziano Terzani Archive featuring photos taken by Carpenè’s journalist friend during one of his trips to the country. At 8 pm on 10 May, the two-day event will end at the Teatro Malibran with a Cambodia Royal Ballet performance entitled Lights and Shadows, directed by the choreographer HRH Princess Norodom Buppha Devi, an ex-prima ballerina and former Cambodian Minister of Culture (free admission).

Conceived by the Intercultural Institute of Comparative Music Studies and organised with the Cini Foundation Centre for Comparative Studies of Civilisations and Spiritualities, the event is intended to stimulate thinking on some significant issues in the recent history of Cambodia, such as the role of cooperation in international relations and reconstruction and development processes in which enduring, effective practices can document and preserve cultural memory in a fast-changing country. In 1982, just two years after the fall of the Pol Pot regime, the Giorgio Cini Foundation previously focused on Cambodia by bringing to Venice a photographic exhibition on the Angkor temples, the great emblem of Cambodian culture.

The one-day seminar Reconstructing Cambodia after the Khmer Rouge. The life experience and work of Onesta Carpené is coordinated by Giovanni Giuriati (director of the IISMC) and Valerio Pellizzari (a journalist and writer). The seminar is primarily devoted to commemorating Onesta Carpenè. Born at Col San Martino, Treviso in 1935, she was involved in international cooperation in Southeast Asia (Vietnam, Laos and Thailand) and from 1966 also in Cambodia, where she worked and lived from 1980 to 2005. In keeping with the IISMC interests and areas of study, some of the speakers will tackle more specific themes concerning the meaning of cultural cooperation and the role Italy can play in this area. Scholars, journalists and leading players from the cooperation world will attend, including Matilde Callari Galli, a cultural anthropologist and head of cultural cooperation projects in Cambodia; Nicoletta Dentico (vice-president of the Osservatorio Italiano Salute Globale), who has long experience working in international cooperation, also in Cambodia, and was formerly a director of the Italian anti-mine campaign and Medecin sans Frontières; Elisabetta Rosaspina, a reporter for Corriere della Sera; Suppya Nut Bru, a lecturer in the Khmer language at the University of Paris (INALCO); and HRH Prince Ravivaddhana Monipong Sisowath, an expert on the tradition of the Cambodia Royal Ballet. Moreover, some of Onesta Carpenè’s relatives will illustrate her life and cooperation projects promoted from the Treviso area and still ongoing in Southeast Asia.