08.04.2013 - UNESCO Office in Apia

Safeguarding Living Heritage in Yap

The first workshop in the FSM under the UNESCO Programme for Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) held in Colonia, from March 28-30, 2013 in Yap was a resounding success. Over 50 people attended the workshop on the first day and all three days were packed full of interesting and informative presentations on ICH in the state of Yap.

Representatives from the Councils of Pilung and Tamol, and Yap State Government were all on hand to participate, as well as numerous local experts with an interest in and involvement with Yapese ICH.

The first two days of the workshop included a welcoming statement from Governor Sebastian Anefal; an update on the FSM’s status with the ratification of UNESCO’s ICH Convention from Mr Augustine Kohler, Acting Director of the Historic Preservation Office (HPO) of the FSM government; an overview of the ICH program from Dr. Akatsuki Takahashi, UNESCO Office in Apia; individual presentations from a variety of stakeholders on the various elements of ICH in Yap; a display of handicrafts from Yap Women’s Association (YWA) and the Women’s Interest Group; and local food and refreshments were provided by groups OUR YAP and Yap Fusion.

On the final day of the workshop, participants engaged in activities to prepare for implementation of the ICH program. A crucial first step was to identify terminology in the local languages that could describe exactly what ICH is. The identified terminologies were “Rarogone” in the Yapese language, “Rongli” in the Ulithian language, “Roong” in the Woleaian language, “Roongon” in the Satawalese language.

After brainstorming, the groups were able to come up with several viable options that could be used to rename the ICH program so that all Yapese would be able to understand it better. The groups decided that more time would be needed to deliberate on this but were happy with the progress made so far.

A final activity was to work together to identify as many forms of ICH in Yap. This exercise allowed participants to think about their culture and many things they might take for granted that are actually considered elements of ICH. 

Mr Francis Reg, Yap Historic Preservation Officer, made a concluding remark of the Workshop by charting a way forward for the ICH safeguarding in Yap.  This included community consultation and a series of capacity building workshops.

By Historic Preservation Office, Department for Youth and Civil Affairs, The State of Yap, FSM


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