Sixteen new documentary items from thirteen countries have been inscribed in the Asia-Pacific Register of the Memory of the World, during the 6th General Meeting of the Memory of the World Committee for Asia-Pacific (MOWCAP) held from 13 to 15 May 2014 in Guangzhou, China, with the record participation of more than forty delegates and observers from sixteen countries.
The MOWCAP General Meeting was co-hosted by the State Archive Administration of China (SAAC), the Guangdong Province and the Guangzhou municipal government, with the support from the UNESCO offices in Bangkok and Beijing. For the first time, the MOWCAP biennial event was also attended by representatives from Bangladesh, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, and Samoa.
"This is our biggest General Meeting to date," said the outgoing Chairperson of the Bureau Ray Edmonson, “with a record number of inscriptions which doubles the Asia-Pacific Register.”
In the opening remarks, the Director-General of the SAAC Yang Dongquan said that "delegates from countries and regions throughout Asia-Pacific as well as UNESCO are gathered here together to share experience and exchange views, which will definitely promote the progress of regional work of the MOW and documentary heritage protection.”
The MOWCAP General Meeting was also followed by a capacity building Symposium. The sixteen new inscriptions added to the MOWCAP regional register were selected among twenty one nominations proposed by national committees, organizations or individuals from fifteen countries.
The new inscriptions are: Queensland South Sea Islander Indentured Labour records 1863-1908 (Australia); the Reamker by Tukrut (Cambodia); the Double Stellar Hemisphere (China), The Proclamation ‘E Tuatua Akakite’ 1891 (Cook Islands), Polynesian Immigrants Records 1896-1914 (Fiji), ‘The Soul of the Reef’ documentary film (Iran), Vendidad (Iran), Al-Masaalik Wa Al-Mamaalik (Iran), Neo Lao Hak Xath Film Collection 1953-1980 (Lao PDR), Loamanfaanu (Maldives), Sutra Great Deity Tara (Mongolia), Western Pacific Archives (News Zealand), Archives of German-Samoa Colonial Administration (Samoa), Asian Film Archives Collection Cathay-Keris Malay Classics (Singapore), Imperial records of Nguyen Dynasty 1802-1945 (Viet Nam); and with one item from the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Collections of Documents and Images of Karbala, provisionally registered waiting for administrative information.
The delegates elected the new MOWCAP Bureau composed by Li Minhua as Chair (Deputy Director-General of the State Archive Administration of China), and as vice-chairs Fatima Fahimnia (Iran), Dianne Macaskill (New Zealand), Kim Kwibae (Republic of Korea), Vu Thi Minh Huong (Viet Nam). Ms. Helen Swinnerton was reconfirmed as MOWCAP Secretary-General, with Rosa Maria Gonzalez as ex-officio member from the UNESCO Secretariat. Special advisors are: Prof. Simon Chu, Sarah Choy, Dr. Ray Edmonson, and Richard Engelhardt, while Dr. Rajaya Abhakorn (Thailand) was reconfirmed as MOWCAP Goodwill Patron.
The Memory of the World is the documented, collective memory of the peoples of the world – their documentary heritage – which in turn represents a large proportion of the world’s cultural heritage. It charts the evolution of thought, discovery and achievement of human society. It is the legacy of the past to the world community of the present and the future. The Memory of the World Programme, established by UNESCO in 1992, recognizes documentary heritage of international, regional and national significance, maintains registers of it, and awards a logo to identify it. It facilitates preservation, and access without discrimination. It campaigns to raise awareness of the documentary heritage, to alert governments, the general public, business and commerce to preservation needs, and to raise funds. The Memory of the World Programme maintains a global perspective embracing all countries and peoples, whose collective efforts will be needed to ensure that the Memory is retained undistorted and undiminished.