National Archives of Malaysia receives 2009 UNESCO/Jikji Memory of World Prize
An elaborate ceremony held on 4 September 2009 at the Grand Hall of the Cheongju Arts Centre, in the Republic of Korea, saw Sidek Jamil, Director-General of the National Archives of Malaysia receive the UNESCO/Jikji Memory of World Prize certificate and cheque on behalf of his institution.
The certificate was presented by Joie Springer, the representative of the Director-General of UNESCO, while the cheque was handed over by the Mayor of Cheongju City, Mr Nam Sang-woo.
The ceremony took place before a packed hall who thrilled to a fictionalised musical depicting the Jikji story. Congratulatory messages were received from a number of personalities within the Korean government as well as from the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-Moon. In congratulating the Archives, UNESCO's Koïchiro Matsuura paid tribute to the international recognition it had gained for its outreach and educational preservation programmes. He further noted that the activities carried out by the Archives complemented UNESCO's own action to preserve the world's documentary heritage.
The UNESCO/Jikji Memory of World Prize, the first prize in the field of documentary heritage, was established by UNESCO in April 2004 to commemorate the inscription of Jikji, the oldest surviving book made with moveable metal characters, on the Memory of World Register. The Prize, consisting of an award of US$30,000, along with a certificate, is given every two years to individuals or institutions that have made a significant contribution to the preservation and accessibility of the documentary heritage.
The ceremony received wide national coverage and was the highlight of a series of events organized by the City of Cheongju to commemorate the Jikji inscription on the Register. One of these activities was a regional workshop on the preservation and utilisation of digital heritage with the participation of 11 representatives from Bhutan, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Vietnam. The workshop featured presentations from three international speakers: Joie Springer of UNESCO's Information Society Division, Adrian Cunningham (Australia) and Johannes Spitzbart (Austria) as well as from two national experts Samkyun Oh and Sungun Nam.
The workshop also included the presentation of country reports and study visits to Korean institutions active in the field of digital preservation.