We are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of our beloved friend, colleague and mentor Dr Rujaya Abhakorn. Rujaya made a significant contribution to the development of the Memory of the World Programme in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond.
In 2005 Rujaya was appointed a MOWCAP “Goodwill Patron“ and took every opportunity to promote the work of MOWCAP. By 2010 he had travelled to all the ASEAN countries to promote the Memory of the World Programme and encourage the establishment of National Memory of the World Committees.
He was the chair of the Register Sub-committee from its inception until the latest MOWCAP General Meeting in 2018. In this role he demonstrated a focussed dedication to researching nominations and identifying those that met the criteria for insciption on the MOWCAP register.
Rujaya was a sought after speaker on the Memory of the World programme and its importance for contributing to the preservation of and access to documentary heritage. He also contributed his knowledge to international Memory of the World workshops held to increase understanding of the register nomination process.
Ray Edmondson who has known Rujaya for many years described the respect all those associated with MOWCAP had for Rujaya and his contribution to MOWCAP. “Rujaya was a good friend and colleague and we will miss him, his gentle ways, his knowledge, his wisdom and – not least – his sense of humour. He had the great gift of transcending cultural boundaries and his contribution to MoW and MOWCAP was immense. We have all been enriched by his presence among us over the years.”
After Rujaya retired from his MOWCAP roles he summed up so well what we all feel about the achievements of MOWCAP from its beginnings until now – “I think we would all agree that working with MOWCAP has been a unique experience because we had the privilege of building it up and live long enough to see it flourish and the happiness that successful nominations bring to so many countries and communities in the region.”
We will always remember Rujaya’s infectious smile, his dry humour, witty remarks, strength, wisdom and kindness as well as his passion for the preservation of documentary heritage and ensuring that its value was shared and understood by all. He has been an integral part of the success of MOWCAP and he leaves a rich legacy for those that follow him.