02.12.2016 - UNESCO Office in Jakarta

Preserving Documentary Heritage in Timor Leste

Participants of the workshop holding a copy of the UNESCO Memory of the World in Timor Leste brochure.

Dili-The preservation of documentary heritage in Timor Leste received a boost today with the official launch of the National Committee of Timor Leste for Memory of the World (MOW). The launch event was supported by UNESCO through the Malaysia-UNESCO Cooperation Programme (MUCP) in cooperation with the Timor Leste National Commission for UNESCO and the State Secretariat for Art and Culture of Timor Leste and included a two-day capacity building workshop with local stakeholders on 1 and 2 December.

Opening the event were H.E. Mrs. Maria Isabel Ximenes, Secretary of State for Art and Culture of Timor Leste, H.E. Mrs. Chitra Devi V Ramiah, Ambassador of Malaysia to Timor-Leste, Mrs. Cedelizia Dos Santos, representative of the Timor-Leste National Commission for UNESCO, and Dr. Ming-Kuok LIM, Advisor for Communication and Information of UNESCO Office in Jakarta.
Expert consultants Dr. Roslyn Russell and Mr Andrew Henderson were on hand to provide training for the local stakeholders from various local organizations including National Directorate of Library, National Directorate of Museum, National Archive and Museum Resistance, The Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation, and Timor Aid.

One of the main messages of the workshop was to emphasize the importance of the preserving precious documentary heritage using the most appropriate methods. Documents, audio and video recordings are in fact very fragile and prone to deterioration. Significant collections worldwide have suffered a variety of fates where looting and dispersal, illegal trading, destruction, inadequate housing and funding have all played a part. Much has vanished forever; much is endangered.  This makes the initiative taking place in Timor Leste the more important for current and future generation of the country.

With that in mind, the two-day workshop focused on increasing the awareness of the existence and significance of documentary heritage in Timor-Leste and the importance of safeguarding this material; support participants, identify documentary heritage with local, national, regional and international significance; and assist participants in identifying and preparing their respective applications for nominations to the Memory of the World International Register in accordance with the existing procedures.

The newly established National Committee of Timor Leste for Memory of the World is headed by Mr. Clementino Pinto Amaral (National Commission of Timor Leste), and Mr. Claudio Marques Cabral (State Secretariat of Arts and Culture) and Mr. Siquito da Costa Gutteres (Commission for Reception, Truth, and Reconciliation in East Timor, CAVR).  The National Committees are a crucial part of the MOW Programme structure. As appropriate, they are encouraged to identify national documentary heritage, raising awareness, strengthen preservation, improve  access, and structures, status and relationships of stakeholders.  National Committees are autonomous entities with their own terms of reference and their own rules of membership and succession. They are entitled to use the Memory of the World name and logo and must be accredited by UNESCO’s National Commission.

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