Inauguration Ceremony for the ‘Culture and Development’ Project Held in the Village of Dair, Timor Leste, on 3 February 2014
An official inauguration ceremony on UNESCO’s Inter-Sectoral program entitled ‘Sustainable Development, Poverty Eradication and Empowerment of Vulnerable Communities in Timor-Leste through Safeguarding the Cultural and Natural Heritage’ was held in the Diar village, Liquica District, Timor Leste on 3 February, 2014. The ceremony was held to open the locally made ceramic shop which was attended by around sixty people including central government officials and local community members.
During the meeting Mr.Masanori Nagaoka, Head of the Culture Unit at the UNESCO Office Jakarta, outlined that the project was undertaken as part of UNESCO’s Small Island Developing States (SIDS) programme, and aims to assist Timor Leste in the protection and promotion of the island's culture, efficient utilization of its natural resources and the empowerment of women and youth, which in turn will improve livelihoods and generate income. Mr. Nagaoka applauded the achievement of locally made ceramic products and the establishment of pottery shops in Dair village which work was achieved through joint-initiatives and combined efforts made by the community members, especially twenty women and youth, and central and local governments.
The Dair village has been chosen as a pilot site for the project due to its rich cultural traditions and potential. During archaeological excavations in Dair executed over the last few years by the National Directorate of Culture of the Ministry of Tourism, significant amounts of pottery and earthenware were found, including two complete small jars that are potentially from the prehistoric period. Such an amount of local earthenware suggests that the village of Dair was probably until very recently, an important centre for earthenware production. However, local knowledge for making this earthenware has disappeared due to the use of more modern materials such as plastic and glass.From April 2013 UNESCO, in collaboration with the Timor Leste authorities and the Dair community members, commenced a series of community workshops in order to revitalize the disappearing knowledge and technique of traditional pottery making in Dair village and to generate income for the local community.
UNESCO aimed to promote and protect the cultural values of traditional crafts and enterprises, which in turn would lead to the promotion of local and indigenous knowledge and conservation of natural resources. A first stakeholder's meeting was held in the Dair village, Liquica District, Timor Leste on 19 February, 2013 to introduce the project aims and activities and was attended by 40 people.
In addition, UNESCO in collaboration with the State Secretariat for Arts and Culture of Timor-Leste have organized a 10 panel exhibition in three languages (Tetun, Portuguese and English) focusing in ceramic industries to be held in Maubara in mid December, 2013. 5000 copies of three-language brochure have also been developed as part of the exhibition and will be distributed to key stakeholders.
UNESCO aims to promote and protect the cultural values of traditional crafts and enterprises, which in turn will lead to the promotion of local and indigenous knowledge and conservation of natural resources.
It is hoped that this project will empower the local community to combine local knowledge and wisdom with the existing archaeological and ethnographic information, in order to develop sustainable and self-sufficient tourism products and industries.
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