A Press Conference was hosted by Samoa’s Ministry of Education, Sport and Culture (MESC) on 10 February 2014 to celebrate the Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) Convention become effective in Samoa after three months since Samoa’s Instrument of Acceptance of the ICH Convention was deposited to UNESCO in Paris in November last year.
On this festive occasion, Hon. Magele Mauiliu Magele, Minister of MESC, shared this wonderful news with some 30 participants, comprising of parliamentarians, senior officials in charge of cultural heritage, traditional leaders, the diplomatic corps, representative of United Nations Country Team (UNCT), and media, who gathered in the MESC conference room in Apia. Hon. Magele commended the Culture Division of MESC for its longstanding efforts in the ICH safeguarding as demonstrated by the publication of seven volumes of “Samoa Ne’I Galo” (Samoa, Lest we forget), a compilation of oral traditions and legends of Samoa.
Mr Etienne Clement, Director of the UNESCO Office for the Pacific States, joined this celebration by sharing his views and thoughts based on his firm belief in the intimate link between culture and development. He said “Any national policies related to development must integrate the cultural dimension and take into account cultural diversity, whether it touches languages, oral traditions, traditional expressions, creativity, and artistic expressions. It is when integrating this dimension in development policies, then these policies have the best change to be implemented and owned by the populations of the countries and communities concerned”. He also encouraged the country to consider joining the other UNESCO Conventions in culture in the near future.
The Press Conference provided participants with the opportunity to exchange their questions and views at the session conducted under the Chair of Mr Matafeo Aiafi, CEO of MESC. Mr Aiafi concluded the Press Conference by highlighting the importance of the implementation of the ICH Convention in Samoa and called for collaboration of stakeholders across the board.