UNESCO Multisectoral Regional Office for Southeast Asia Working Closer with Wikimedian in Indonesia

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Wikimania 2023 has cemented a good relationship between UNESCO and Wikimedia communities, particularly in the Southeast Asia region. The interaction that they have made with Wikimedia affiliates has opened up a mutual understanding to work together in preserving heritage in the region. As one of the concrete steps to collaborate with Wikimedia communities in the Southeast Asia region, UNESCO Multisectoral Regional Office for Southeast Asia in Jakarta has agreed to support some of the cultural and heritage preservation activities that are being undertaken by the Wikimedians in the region. 

The first step being undertaken by the UNESCO in the region is to collaborate with Wikimedia Indonesia to organize an edit-a-thon. This event aims to raise awareness of the significance of heritage, particularly documentary heritage, while attracting new contributors to Wikipedia Bahasa Indonesia. UNESCO Multisectoral Regional Office for Southeast Asia in Jakarta and Wikimedia Indonesia have agreed on the importance of the information on Memory of The World Register available on Wikipedia Bahasa Indonesia as prior to the event, the majority of inscriptions registered in the MoW International Register were not yet available in the Indonesian Wikipedia. In light of this, the UNESCO Multisectoral Regional Office for Southeast Asia in Jakarta supported the first MoW Edit-A-Thon in Indonesia, entitled “Edit-a-thon: Writing Past Indonesian Documentary Heritage for A Future to Remember”. This event was conducted on Thursday, October 12, 2023 at their main office and on Saturday, October 21, 2023 at Wikimedia Indonesia office.

“The MoW Register, which encompasses nearly 500 items from various corners of the globe, serves to enhance one’s comprehension of history, heritage, and cultural diversity. With the assistance of the participants and the Wikimedia platform, we hope that we can raise awareness and improve the accessibility of these records, specifically those associated with Indonesia, for the general public” shared Ms. Ana Lomtadze, Programme Specialist Communication and Information UNESCO Jakarta Office, when sharing her hope on the event.

Prior to the Edit-A-Thon event, the participants also engaged in the workshops on the importance of safeguarding and universal access to documentary heritage presented by Ms. Esther Dina Sihombing Programme Assistant, Communication and Information from UNESCO and the role of The National Archives of the Republic of Indonesia (ANRI) as National MoW Committee in disseminating information about UNESCO’s MoW program, presented by Ms. Eli Ruliawati, Director of Service and Utilization, The National Memory of the World Committee from ANRI.

The workshops helped participants develop an understanding of the importance of MoW in providing documentary heritage knowledge widely accessible to the public through Wikipedia. The event has successfully attracted 20 new Wikipedia Bahasa Indonesia contributors who work to create new articles as well as to expand existing articles on MoW in Bahasa Indonesia.

“This event served as a stepping stone for collaboration between UNESCO Multisectoral Regional Office for Southeast Asia in Jakarta and the Indonesian community to support the preservation of documentary heritage as well as gesture a way to bridge the gap on documentary heritage in Indonesian Wikipedia” shared Rachmat Wahidi, the Chair of Wikimedia Indonesia. 

The team at Wikimedia Indonesia has selected the top 5 MoW articles from the Edit-A-Thon event:

  1. Shantinatha Charitra
  2. Codex Manesse
  3. Membangun Dunia Kembali
  4. Ilseongnok
  5. Naskah Gilgit

The program received a positive response both from the trainers and participants. One of the participants, Ni Putu Diah Asyanti shared her perspective:“Hopefully we can meet people who have the same interests, especially in the field of cultural preservation, and can attract new members to the Jakarta Wikimedia Community.” Her opinion is echoed by Khairul Rahman, the trainer from Wikimedia Indonesia, who shared “We hope to preserve cultural heritage by respecting it and documenting it thoroughly to prevent its fading and any claims by specific parties.”

The collaboration between the UNESCO Multisectoral Regional Office for Southeast Asia in Jakarta with Wikimedia Indonesia serves as an example of how UNESCO and Wikimedia communities could join hands in preserving heritage through Wikimedia projects. As Rachmat mentioned previously, this is just the stepping stone of the collaboration between the Wikimedia movement and UNESCO in the Southeast Asia region.

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