08.12.2017 - UNESCO Office in Jakarta

Timor-Leste prepares for a national register of Memory of the World

Group photo

Memory institutions in the Timor-Leste moved closer to establishing a national register for Memory of the World that would enable better recognition of documentary heritage of significant value in the country.

Eight memory institutions attended the workshop organized by UNESCO and supported by the Malaysia-UNESCO Cooperation Programme (MUCP), including the Timor-Leste National Archives, Timor-Leste Library, Timor-Leste Museum, Centro Nacional Chega!, Timor Aid, Diocese of Dili, Archives Museum of Timorese Resistance (AMRT), and the Centro Audiovisual Max Stahl Timor-Leste (CAMSTL).

The workshop aimed to

  • improve the understanding of what constitute a documentary heritage and the processes of the Memory of the World nomination process;
  • identifying potential documentary heritage that can be nominated to the Memory of the World register;
  • strengthening the membership of the Timor-Leste National Committee for Memory of the World


Ms. Cecilia Assis, the Director-General of Culture, Ministry of Education and Culture, Ms. Cedelizia do Santos, Acting Secretary-General of the Timor-Leste National Commission as well as Mr. Junaid Naseem, the Coordinator of the UNESCO Dili Antenna Office gave the opening remarks in the morning of the event.

Dr. Roslyn Russell, historian and Chair of Australian National Committee for MOW as well as Dr. Ming-Kuok LIM, Advisor for Communication and Information for UNESCO Office in Jakarta moderated the two-day conference and guided the participants through the criteria and nomination process for a documentary heritage at the national, regional or international registers. Dr. Nuno Vasco Oliveira, an archeologist and cultural heritage consultant, presented a mapping of the documentary heritage in the country that has the potential to be nominated to the national register.

Several documentary heritage were presented as potential nomination by the different institutions including, the Max Stahl’s audio-visual archives (CAMSTL),  the rare tais collection (Timor-Aid) , the National Archives of Timor-Leste presented the broad holdings of the archives dating from 1940s including documents from the Second World War.  The Timor-Leste library noted that they have in their collection, dictionaries of dialects and indigenous languages in the country. The AMRT presented several possible nominations including the original proclamation text, with corresponding photos and audio recordings of the historic event.

While acknowledging the various challenges faced by the memory institutions in Timor-Leste including human capacity, infrastructure, and political hurdles, the participants are encouraged to strengthen their connection with the Memory of the World programme including its vast networks found regionally and internationally.

At the conclusion of the workshop, participants agree to prepare submissions of documentary heritage to be listed on the Timor-Leste National Register of the MOW for the first time. The timeline of the national nomination process will follow the general time-frame practice elsewhere globally which will begin by December 2017 and culminate in an inscription ceremony by February 2019.

The process will be led by the Timor-Leste National Committee for MOW which was established in December 2016 with the support from the UNESCO Office in Jakarta and Dili.




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