Expert Meeting on Developing the Indonesian Story of a Maritime Cultural Corridor

Photo courtesy of the Ministry of Education and Culture of the Republic of Indonesia

Jakarta, 30 November 2018. From 28 to 30 November 2018, UNESCO Office Jakarta, in cooperation with the Ministry of Education and Culture of the Republic of Indonesia, held a 3-day closed-door expert meeting on “Developing the Indonesian Story of a Maritime Cultural Corridor” to support the early conceptualization of a narrative for an Indonesian maritime-based heritage route.

Situated along one of the busiest maritime routes in the world, Indonesia has been an important strategic location and trade destination for thousands of years. As the result of heavy maritime traffic to and from East Asia, the Middle East, and Europe, many civilizations interacted - exchanging knowledge, experiences, and cultures - in addition to valuable commodities. By promoting this maritime cultural exchange, the Government of Indonesia hopes to revitalize dialogue and scientific collaboration within the country, as well as with multi-national partners, about this maritime history. To this end, the meeting provided insights to assist the Indonesian government in defining the narrative and scope for the potential World Heritage nomination.  

This workshop was made possible through the generous support of the Government of the Netherlands, and aimed to refine the proposed storyline of the heritage-based maritime route in Indonesia, and to explore the potential Outstanding Universal Values (OUV) that could support such a route’s inclusion on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The event included notable international resource persons who have previously been involved in developing cultural route concepts for World Heritage nominations, namely Mr. Tim Williams, heritage expert and author of the concept note for the Silk Road nomination; Dr. Shikha Jain, advisor to the Government of India for the Project Mausam route; Dr. Carol Westrik, an expert on World Heritage from the Government of the Netherlands; and Dr. Richard Engelhardt, former Regional Culture Advisor for Asia-Pacific at UNESCO Bangkok. The experts presented valuable knowledge on the process of developing the early concept, as well as challenges, lessons learned, and suggestions for what Indonesia should consider when developing their own unique narrative.

Other participants included a number of senior-level experts representing the Directorate of Cultural Heritage and Diplomacy of the Ministry of Education and Culture; the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Government of the Netherlands; the Cultural Heritage Expert Team of the Government of Indonesia, academics, a non-profit organization; and the Ministry of Public Works and Housing. The meeting concluded with several points of reflection and action for defining the Indonesian maritime cultural route’s unique heritage, and to rally the support of regional partners for collaborating on a transnational nomination.