The workshop was held under the auspice of Culture Program Specialists from the UNESCO cluster based in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
Officially opening the working session, the Seychelles Minister for Tourism and Culture, Alain St.Ange, in the presence of Minister McSuzy Mondon, the Minister responsible for Education and the French Ambassador, Mr. Philippe Delacroix, said that “in this time of growing vulnerability, the role of cultural heritage, the role of knowledge, and that of social structures become ever more important.”
Minister St.Ange noted that Seychelles, despite being home to a wealth of linguistic and biological diversity, as a small nation its heritage is at risk.
‘‘Our culture is at the very center of what we are, and our culture is at the very center of what we do. Our culture permeates every aspect of our being. It is the essence of who we are. It shapes our individuals, and it shapes our group identities. Our culture defines us as a people and defines us as a nation.”
In 2011, Seychelles launched its five-year cultural strategic plan. This plan not only promotes culture as a national asset, but also as an instrument that is beneficial for the nation, economic growth, the tourism industry, as well as enhancing a sense of citizenship and building spirit.
Minister St.Ange said that more actions are needed to ‘‘make fundamental readjustment that will enable culture to take its rightful place in the sustainable economic development of Seychelles.’‘
In the presence of the Seychelles Minister responsible for Education, McSuzy Mondon, the French Ambassador Philippe Delacroix; Ms. Benjamine Rose, the PS for Culture; Mr. Jimmy Savy, the CEO of the National Arts Council; and Mrs. Raymonde Onezime, Special Advisor to the Minister of Tourism&Culture; Mrs. Marie Reine Hoareau; among many other government officials, Mrs. Fatoumia Bazi, the Indian Ocean Commission Representative who is also responsible for regional strategy for culture, said that since 2005, said that the COI had been given its support to the small island developing states to define a cultural strategic plan that also incorporate the environmental specificities of their respective states.
She explained that her presence in the Seychelles is to shed light within the 17 small island developing states represented at the Seychelles meeting on the appropriate guidelines to follow when formulating the action plan.
Once drafted, this action plan will be validated during the ministerial meetings to be held in May in the capital of the Comoros, Moroni.
The primary aim of this workshop is to identify and address the specific capacity needs of participating countries so as to better organize activities at the national and regional level.