21.05.2012 - UNESCO Office in Jakarta

Seminar on “Traditional Knowledge Systems & Cultural Diversity and Book Launching “Matenek Lokal, Timor Nian!” in Dili, Timor-Leste, 10 May 2012

Ms. Kirsty Sword-Gusmão launching "Matenek Lokal, Timor Nian!" book at the seminar (©UNESCO/Estradivari)

This one-day seminar, jointly organized by the Timor Leste National Commission for UNESCO, Haburas Foundation and UNESCO office Jakarta, was held on 10 May 2012 at the Memorial Hall in Dili, Timor-Leste

The objectives of the seminar were to discuss the important role of traditional knowledge systems and linguistic, cultural and biological diversity in promoting Timor-Leste’s sustainable development and to launch a book titled “Matenek Lokal, Timor Nian!” (Traditional Knowledge of Timor!), which was the result of a workshop held on the topic in Dili in June 2011. This academic-style seminar was opened by Mr. Adérito Guterres, President of Instituto Nacional de Formacao de Profesores/INFORDEPE (the National Institute for Training of Teachers and Education Professionals) and Ms. Kirsty Sword Gusmão, the Chair of the Timor-Leste National Commission for UNESCO. In total, there were more than 110 participants from government officials, embassies, NGOs, UN agencies and universities attending the seminar. The seminar was divided into two sessions with 4 presenters: Prof. Dr. Multamia RMT Lauder (University of Indonesia), Mr. Josh Trindade (analyst of Timor-Leste culture), Mr. Rui Pinto (Coral Triangle Support Partnership) and Mr. Alberto Fidalgo Castro (University of Coruna). Besides presentations, an award-winning film “Uma Lulik” was also screened during the second session.



The seminar brought up some important messages for promoting sustainable development in Timor-Leste:

  • Cultural diversity and traditional knowledge of Timor Leste are two important aspects for promoting sustainable development and national unity. It may be diminished easily due to rapid westernization if they are not promoted and preserved.
  • Uma lulik (sacred house) represents the main traditional knowledge of Timor-Leste, it is a synthesis of culture, language, and resource use practices of Timor-Leste. Therefore, the need to promote and preserve these traditional scared houses is urgent.
  • Preservation, maintenance and transmission of traditional knowledge systems are vital for conservation of biological and cultural diversity, which in turn are prerequisites for development projects to be successful and for Timor Leste to achieve sustainable development.
  • Considering that language and culture are closely linked, a policy on language is needed to maintain the rich linguistic resources of the country and harness them for sustainable development.

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