Myanmar’s documentary heritage is rich and diverse, ranging from ancient texts carved in stone and palm leaf manuscripts to cinema and audio-visual materials. As a developing nation, however, Myanmar faces major challenges in safeguarding this heritage and making it accessible to all.
UNESCO working closely with the Myanmar National Commission for UNESCO, held a national level Memory of the World (MoW) training workshop from 4-5 May 2017.
The workshop focused on increasing participants’ knowledge of and skills related to the MoW programme, particularly developing nominations to MoW registers and how the programme can bolster efforts to safeguard Myanmar’s documentary heritage through the establishment of a Memory of the World National Committee.
The training brought together people from government, libraries, archives museums and universities including:
- Department of Archaeology and National Museum, Yangon,
- Bagan and Nay Pyi Taw branches
- Myanmar National Commission for UNESCO
- Ministry of Education
- Film Archive, Ministry of Information, Yangon
- MRTV, Ministry of Information
- Save Myanmar Film project
- National Archives, Yangon and Nay Pyi Taw Offices
- National Library of Myanmar, Yangon and Nay Pyi Taw Offices
- Universities Central Library
- University of Yangon
- Myanmar Historical Commission
- NGO Myanmar Book Aid and Preservation Foundation
- Lu Htu Library, Mandala
As part of the training the participants identified a number of important collections for future nominations, including:
- A collection of glass plate negatives of Bagan from 1900-1920 that relate to the Bagan Archaeological office
- Documents of the meeting relating to the Chattha Sangayana 6th Buddhist council 1954-1956.
- The Emerald Jungle, 1934, the oldest surviving Myanmar feature film.
- Documents relating to General Aung San (speeches and film)
- Several collections of Palm Leave manuscripts
- Rare collection of newspapers from Mandalay.
- Archaeological stone inscriptions
The participants also discussed forming Myanmar’s first Memory of the World National Committee for Memory of the World, with consensus gained to aim to establish the Committee in 2017.
The workshop was facilitated by Dr. Ray Edmondson, Special Advisor to MOWCAP and Andrew Henderson, consultant with the UNESCO Bangkok office.
Myanmar and MoW
UNESCO will work with stakeholders in Myanmar to support the preservation and access to the country’s documentary heritage through the “Safeguarding the Documentary Heritage of Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in Southeast Asia through the UNESCO Memory of the World (MOW) Programme” project.
The Myanmar project has four phases:
- Workshop in Myanmar on the MoW Programme (4-5 May 2017)
- National study of significant documentary heritage in Myanmar (May-July 2017)
- 2nd workshop on the Workshop on the Memory of the World (October 2017)
- Exhibition and publication of the significant documentary heritage of Myanmar (November 2017).
This project is possible through the generous support from the Government of Malaysia via the Malaysia Funds-in-Trust (MFIT) under the Malaysia – UNESCO Cooperation Programme (MUCP).
There was very positive press coverage from Myanmar TV (MRTV)
and MRTV (Radio)