Date
10/04/2012 - 14/04/2012
Countries
Timor-Leste

A three-day Capacity Building Workshop on the Implementation of UNESCO’s 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) was held on 10-12 April 2012 at Hotel Timor in Dili, Timor-Leste. The workshop was jointly organised by the State Secretariat of Culture of the Ministry of Education of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste and UNESCO with the support from the Government of Japan through UNESCO Japanese Funds-In-Trust for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage.

This workshop followed a previously organised workshop on the ratification of the 2003 UNESCO Convention, which took place in November 2011 in Timor-Leste. This supplementary workshop gathered some 60 participants, including national and district Culture officials, governmental officials from other relevant ministries, academics, NGO representatives and community members. Facilitated by Rahul Gioswami (a member of the Consultative Body of the 2003 ICH Convention), Masanori Nagaoka (Head of Culture unit of UNESCO Office, Jakarta) and Wieske Sapardan (Programme Assistant of UNESCO Office, Jakarta), the fourteen sessions of this workshop was intended to help participants gain a broad understanding of the possible activities involved in implementing UNESCO’s Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage.

During the opening ceremony, H.E. Mr. Virgilio Simith, the Secretary of State for Culture of the Ministry of Education of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste and H.E. Mr. Yoshitaka Hanada, the Ambassador of Japan to Timor-Leste highlighted the importance of joint efforts among governments, civil societies and communities to ensure that Timor-Leste’s precious intangible cultural heritage is safeguarded and passed on to the next generations. They underlined that the safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage should play a key role for ensuring mutual respect and promoting peace in Timor-Leste and beyond.

The opening ceremony was followed by the launch of a publication entitled ‘the Ai To’os Collection’ which was produced by the State Secretariat of Culture of the Ministry of Education of Timor-Leste. Financially supported through UNESCO’s programme of CapEFA (Capacity Development for Education For All), the publication introduces – in Tetun, Portuguese and English – historical cultural objects in order to raise people’s awareness of their own rich cultural heritage while promoting literacy rates in the country. Mr Anwar Alsaid, Head of Education of UNESCO Office, Jakarta who was present at the launching ceremony emphasised that UNESCO stands ready to assist the government and people of Timor-Leste through an intersectoral approach in the fields of education and culture, ie. in promoting and preserving Timor-Leste’s rich cultural heritage and to ensure that this heritage is documented.

The three day capacity building workshop was followed by a visit to Suai, the capital of Cova Lima District in Timor-Leste which will be a pilot site for the Community-based Inventorying workshop, which shall be held in September 2012. During the visit, the members of the State Secretariat of Culture of the Ministry of Education of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste and UNESCO staff met the leaders of the traditional community in Suai and had the opportunity to observe the vernacular architecture settlements, traditional dance, performed by the local community group members, and a tais traditional textile weaving workshop in Cova Lima District.

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