14.11.2017 - UNESCO Office in Nairobi

Safeguarding underwater cultural heritage for sustainable development in Kenya

@UNESCO/E.Trainito, Pollockshields Wreck, Bermudas

UNESCO joined forces with the Italian Cultural Institute in Kenya to participate in a two-day lecture series and film presentation entitled “Italian Archeologists: Between Desert and Sea”, which took place 10and 11November 2017 at the Michael Joseph Centre in Nairobi, Kenya.

 

UNESCO’s Regional Programme Specialist for Culture in Eastern Africa joined Kenyan and Italian experts to raise awareness of opportunities for sustainable development in Kenya through safeguarding and promotion of underwater cultural heritage along the Eastern coast as well as through the protection and promotion of tangible and intangible cultural heritage in the western region of Lake Turkana.

Speakers included Professor Savino Di Lernia, archaeologist from the University of Roma “La Sapienza”; Professor Sebastiano Tusa, a marine archaeologist and Director of the Sea-Sicilian Region; Dr Caesar Bita, marine archaeologist and Director of the National Museum of Malindi; Dr Emmanuel Ndiema, archaeologist and head of the Archaeology Department at the National Museums of Kenya; Mr. Vincenzo Nucci, RAI-Italian National Radio and Television; Professor SimiyuWandibba from the University of Nairobi; and Ms Chloe Josse-Durand from the French Institute for Research in Africa (IFRA).

Ms. Karalyn Monteil, Programme Specialist for Culture in UNESCO’s Regional Office for Eastern Africa, gave a presentation on the UNESCO 2001 Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage. Her presentation highlighted the benefits of ratification of the 2001 Convention by Kenya as well as ideas and opportunities for using underwater cultural heritage for sustainable development in Kenya notably through the promotion of diving tourism and the promotion of underwater cultural heritage collections in coastal museums.

Following the presentations each night, documentary films were shown on “The sign on the stone” by Lucio Rosa and on “Superintendency of the Sea:13 years of exploration and discovery” by Professor Sebastiano Tusa.

The presentations and films showed the importance and opportunities for protecting and promoting cultural heritage in all its forms. A project proposal for the development of an underwater cultural heritage museum and a regional training center in underwater archaeology in Malindi was recommended by several of the speakers, and is currently under development through a collaboration among UNESCO, the National Museums of Kenya, the Italian Cultural Institute in Kenya and the Sea-Sicilian Region in Italy.

“These events are of great significance and interest to UNESCOas the theme directly relates to UNESCO’s Convention on the Protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage adopted in 2001,” said Ms. Ann Therese Ndong-Jatta, Director of the UNESCO Regional Office for Eastern Africa.“I commend the interest the Italian Cultural Institute has taken in hosting these presentations, which are an excellent platform and opportunity to promote public awareness and exchange information regarding the value and importance of Underwater Cultural Heritage,” she added.

Learn more about protecting underwater cultural heritage, here

Programme, here




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