UNESCO Supports Capacity Building Training Visit for Timor-Leste National Officials to the International Research Center for Intangible Cultural Heritage in the Asia-Pacific (IRCI), Japan from 20 to 27 October in 2013
UNESCO and the International Research Center for Intangible Cultural Heritage in the Asia-Pacific, Japan (IRCI) organized a capacity building training visit for Timor-Leste national officials from 20 to 27 October in 2013. The objectives of the study tour were to support the national officials of Timor-Leste to develop Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) management skills and knowledge at national and local levels while also helping to consolidate the relationship between Timor-Leste and Japan through UNESCO’s cooperation. Overall nine selected national officials from the regional offices in Timor-Leste joined this study tour in Japan.
Mr. Masanori Nagoaka, Head of the Culture Unit of the UNESCO Office Jakarta accompanied the participants to help facilitate the study tour. During the study tour, the participants met key Japanese institutes and communities to learn institutional and policy frameworks at the national and local levels as well as to learn from community-driven initiative for the safeguarding of ICH. The participants visited various institutes in Japan including the National Agency for Culture of the Ministry of Education, the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties in Japan, ICH NGOs, local communities in Akita and Ibaraki prefectures, Namahage Museum, Oga Shinzan Folklore Museum, Department of Lifelong Learning, Board of Education in Oga City, Community Centre of Traditional Handicrafts of Yuki City, Yuki Tsumugi Museum, Shoji Hamada Memorial Mashiko Sankokan Museum, Mashiko Town and the National Kabuki Theatre.
During the opening session, Mr. Misako Ohnuki, Deputy Director-General of IRCI, introduced the overall programme which consisted of lectures, field visits and joint discussion to learn ICH administrative systems, promotion/dissemination ways of ICH for the general public, and community-driven safeguarding initiatives of ICH in Japan. By visiting at key institutes and communicating with some officials and selected local community members of ICH in Japan, the participants were requested to identify and analyze the current situations and challenges in Timor-Leste in this regard, and to find possible solutions to the issues raised during the last day of the study tour.
During the opening session, Mr. Nagaoka outlined that the strengthening human and institutional capacities in the field of intangible cultural heritage in Timor-Leste is of the utmost importance to safeguard the country’s heritage, hence supporting the capacity of vulnerable communities to identify, define and safeguard their ICH needs to be given priority. This is of critical significance for the well-being of Timor Lest people, in particular women and youth, and their socio-economic development, while also supporting the perpetuation for long-term transmission of the country’s ICH to future generations. The participants were actively involved in the training sessions sharing their knowledge of ICH in Timor-Leste with the Japanese experts involved in the training, while also working with the IRCI experts to learn how the authorities and community members work together in Japan. The capacity building training is expected to contribute to identify concrete action plans to help safeguard ICH of Timor-Leste along with community groups.
At the end of the tour, Ms. Cecilia Maria Belo de Assis, the General-Director of Arts and Culture of the Ministry of Tourism in Timor-Leste, expressed her appreciation to UNESCO and IRCI for the opportunity to share the rich ICH of Timor-Leste with the experts from the IRCI while supporting the Timor-Leste officials to learn the institutional and community methods and models used for the safeguarding of ICH in Japan. Ms. Assis also outlined that she hoped that the training would help develop a network of stakeholders at all levels in Timor-Leste in order to not only safeguard ICH but also to help realize ICH as a tool to promote sustainable development. Ms. Assis also outlined that she hoped the cooperation between Timor-Leste, UNESCO and IRCI could continue in the future.
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