Guam – Hosted by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), the United Nations Educational, Scienctific and Cultural Organizations (UNESCO) and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the first ever 3-day Pacific Cultural Rights Symposium was held in Honiara, Solomon Islands in conjunction with the 11th Festival of Pacific Arts.
Guam Head of Delegation Monica Guzman attended the Symposium that runs July 9 – 11, along with Art Barcinas and Peter Onedera.
Day one discussions centered on Understanding Cultural Rights by Keynote Speaker UN Special Rapporteur in the field of Cultural Rights, Ms. Farida Shaheed. Ms. Elsei Tellei of the Belau National Museum spoke about her experience in the Pacific Islands Museum Association Youth Speak Workshop. Myjolynne Kim, CEO of the Federated States of Micronesia Chamber of Commerce spoke on the challenges she encountered doing her research on the cultural mapping project funded by the WIPO.
A roundtable discussion chaired by Monica Guzman on improving access to heritage touched on issues such as virtual access to collections in museums, repatriation of collections, the use of the language of human rights relative to cultural rights and the importance of language in the preservation of culture.
Protection of traditional knowledge and cultural expression was the main topic of discussion on day 2 of the Symposium. “It is important that we listen carefully to the challenges of protection of our cultural rights and more importantly the protection of intellectual property especially as we move forward in our plans for the 12th Festival of Pacific Arts in Guam in 2016”, said Guzman. The Solomon Islands Ministry of Culture spoke to the challenges regarding intellectual property rights and copyright issues in their preparations for the Festival and legislation passed to protect these rights.
“The issues discussed at this Symposium are very thought provoking and how we apply these principles to Guam will be the challenge”, said Peter Onedera, Chair of the Literary Arts Guam delegation. The Symposium continues tomorrow with examples of case studies in cultural rights by the UN Special Rapporteur, cultural diversity and cultural rights and trade.