National Archives Director Appointed to UNESCO International Advisory Body
NATCOM (SKN)–Basseterre: November 5, 2012: Director of the National Archives Victoria Borg-O’Flaherty has been appointed to UNESCO’s International Advisory Committee (IAC) on the Memory of the World.
Mrs. O’Flaherty said that the Memory of the World is an avenue for international recognition that highlights key specimens of documented history in different parts of the globe.
She explained that being a part of the International Advisory Team would help to raise awareness regarding the significance of historical records in the Federation. “I am hoping that the first thing it does is raise the profile of archives locally. It’s a privilege to be on a committee of this caliber examining texts from all over the world.”
Referring to the traditional inclination to disregard and undervalue the International importance of regional documents, Mrs. O’Flaherty said Caribbean Archives have cooperated in highlighting documents such as the Local Registry of slaves which, here in St. Kitts, was started in 1817 following the abolition of the Slave Trade in an effort to diminish the number of slaves being smuggled in.
“It was a significant point because for once we knew the names of Africans, where they originated, and their employment. This is just as important as an illuminated manuscript in Europe,” she added.
Mrs. O’Flaherty revealed that the national Commission For UNESCO is in the process of identifying members for a National Committee which will provide the opportunity to form a local list of documents which could be considered for submission to the Memory of the World Regionally and eventually Internationally.
While Mrs. O’Flaherty felt that she would take a back seat when submissions from St. Kitts are being considered, she also suggested that her presence would heighten the support for entries from the wider Caribbean Region as she would be able to shed some light on their relevance.
The Director of the National Archives said she has already identified some of the documents she would like to submit to the National Committee for consideration. These include the first map of St. Kitts which was French as well as a report from the First West India Meeting which was held in Dominica in which the Federation was represented by Thomas Manchester and William Seaton.
Commenting on Mrs. O’Flaherty’s Appointment, Secretary General of the National Commission for UNESCO, Mr. Antonio Maynard reported that it was not at all surprising given her commitment to the preservation, documentation, and provision of increased accessibility to the Federation’s and region’s historical landscape.
Mr. Maynard gave the assurance that his Committee would continue to provide the necessary support and exposure to individuals, organizations and other partners and stakeholders who pursue aspects of UNESCO’s mandate that benefit the Federation developmentally.
The National Commission is scheduled to meet in the near future to discuss the way forward in advancing the Federation’s profile in the Memory of the World.