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Attendees of the recently Launched UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Capacity Building Project in St. Kitts-Nevis, would have learned of the logical connection between Cultural Heritage and Disaster Management, from master of ceremonies and Director of Culture, Mr. Troy ‘Bif’ Mills.

In his remarks, Mr. Mills noted that that it was apropos for the event to be held on the grounds of NEMA Headquarters, which was not the first choice for the Planning Committee.

“Plans to host the opening elsewhere fell through,” Mills said, “and NEMA stepped up to the plate quite decisively and generously.”

This is a first for this type of event to be held at the agency, and “…it was clear from the beginning,” Mills noted, “that the venue was going to be special and conducive to the concept of the workshop as well as the gathering.”

The project, entitled “Strengthening Inventory Preparation Capacity for Implementing 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) in St. Kitts-Nevis”, is being facilitated by the Ministry of Culture. Research and Documentation Specialist, Marlene Phillips says that the Federation requested International Assistance from UNESCO’s ICH Fund, and was approved for US$99,443.00 to implement the project, with conclusion slated for 2021.

The first workshop, initiating the 2 year-long programme, follows a Train the Trainers format with 15 participants from St. Kitts and 10 from Nevis. Artists, artisans, watchdogs and other protectors of national heritage and traditions, are participating in the week-long workshop, which commenced immediately following the opening and closes on Friday, May 3rd. Participants will continue their path to higher capacity through a series of workshops, to develop research, interview and documentation skills that will be valued as national treasures.

“All individuals, community groups, businesses, everyone is encouraged to join us as we celebrate initiatives to preserve our intangible cultural heritage now,” Ms. Phillips said, “…and for future generations.”

The ultimate goal of the programme is to create a national list of ICH that will be accessible both nationally and internationally, by lovers and students of culture, ongoing.