Richard Engelhardt was educated in anthropology, archaeology, and the history of East, South, and Southeast Asia at Yale and Harvard Universities and at the post-graduate Population Institute of the East-West Center at the University of Hawaii. For the past 25 years, he has directed archaeology and heritage conservation projects throughout Asia and the Indo-Pacific region. Engelhardt has also served in various executive capacities with regional professional institutions, including the Siam Society under Royal Patronage and the Hong Kong Archaeological Society. In 1981, he joined the United Nations system and has worked with the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, as well as a number of UN Specialized Agencies, including UNHCR (United Nations High Commission for Refugees), whose office in the Philippines he headed from 1986 until 1989.
From 1991 until 1994, Engelhardt re-opened and served as Director of the UNESCO (United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization) Office in Cambodia, where he launched the international safeguarding campaign for Angkor. In recognition of his services in the preservation of the Angkor Monuments, H.M. King Norodom Sihanouk awarded him the title of Commandeur de l’Ordre Royal du Cambodge.
Engelhardt is currently UNESCO Regional Advisor for Culture for Asia and the Pacific, based in Bangkok. His professional interests include ethno-archaeology, the evolution of cultural landscapes, urban archaeology, and culture resource management. In recent years, he has held visiting lectureships at the University of Hawaii (USA), Waseda University (Japan), Payap University (Thailand), and the Royal University of Fine Arts (Cambodia).
He is the author of numerous scholarly articles, books and publications, including (most recently) Two Thousand Years of Engineering Genius on the Angkor Plain (Expedition 37:3) and numerous articles on the Ethno-Archaeology of Maritime Communities in the Southeast Asian Archipelago, which are being collated and edited in a book, co-authored with Pamela Rumball Rogers, to be published by the University of Utah Press.