As President Barack Obama was sworn into office in Washington DC another significant American ceremony took place 9,000 miles away. In the Royal Palace of Cambodia, newly appointed US Ambassador Carol Rodley presented her formal diplomatic credentials to Cambodia’s King Sihamoni, accompanied by her official gifts; American books fit for a King.
Phnom Penh, Cambodia (PR WIRE) – Surrounded by crenulated walls and elaborate tropical gardens, Cambodia’s Royal Palace is an exotic world onto itself. Since 1866, this has been the royal abode of this proud nation’s monarchs, whose lineage stretches back to the great Khmer Empire that once ruled most of Southeast Asia.
For nearly 150 years, all important state ceremonies have taken place in the Throne Hall, called Preah Thineang Dheva Vinnichay in Khmer, which means the “Sacred Seat of Judgment.” It was here that King Sihamoni received US Ambassador Carol Rodley, accepting her diplomatic papers and, as protocol dictates, conducting an official exchange of gifts between the two nations. Ambassador Rodley chose her American gifts quite carefully.
Years of foreign service and a true appreciation for Cambodian culture prepared Rodley for her important post. Already a Khmer speaker from an earlier Cambodian assignment in 1997-2000, Rodley began preparing for her royal ceremony weeks in advance. Her research led her to US publisher, Kent Davis, a Khmer history specialist and researcher with Devata.org.
“My books are primarily for Cambodians and academics, so I was curious when a Virginia woman sought out these specialized titles. That woman was Ambassador Rodley,” said Davis.
Rodley chose two books and a DVD as official gifts to include in her ceremony: “Earth in Flower” by Dr. Paul Cravath, the most complete history of Cambodian dance ever published; “Angkor the Magnificent” by Helen Churchill Candee, an evocative account of the Khmer Empire; and a rare digital copy of a 1962 film about Cambodian dance featuring the King’s sister, Princess Buppha Devi, from the US National Archives.
Weeks later in the gilded Throne Hall, the newest United States Ambassador presented her credentials to King Sihamoni in his native language and wearing a Khmer silk business suit. Presentation of her diplomatic credentials was soon followed by the uniquely American gifts of Cambodian scholarship, which delighted her royal host.
The Ambassador’s actions and her gifts embody American appreciation and respect for Cambodian culture. With diplomatic empathy like this, I believe the United States can regain its reputation as a world leader known for sharing knowledge, culture and freedom. I’m honored my books were part of this event,” said Davis.
Contact: Kent Davis kdavis@DatAsia.us Direct line 941-778-3086 (FL, USA)
Publisher: DatASIA, Inc. is a US publisher affiliated with the Independent Book Publishers Association, and Small Publishers Association of North America. The company has offices in Florida, USA and Bangkok, Thailand. www.DatAsia.us