A new initiative has been created to promote cultural diplomacy to enhance knowledge and understanding of the Fijian language, culture and heritage for the Fijian diaspora living abroad.
This has been made possible through the Fijian Cultural Programme, UK, which has been developed through a partnership between iTaukei Trust Fund Board (TTFB), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Fijian Communities in the United Kingdom and the Sainsbury Research Unit of the University of East Anglia in UK.
This pilot programme has been initiated based on the request of the Fijian Diaspora in UK to revitalise cultural diplomacy through Fiji’s High Commission in United Kingdom. Upon discussions, a preliminary research exercise was conducted in 2018 through the partnership of the Sainsbury Research Unit of the University of East Anglia (UEA) and the iTaukei Trust Fund Board, to determine the need for a sustainable Fijian cultural programme.
TTFB then decided to develop an Educational Resource Kit in collaboration with important stakeholders in Fiji. The Educational Resource Kit development programme will be implemented in three stages, the first being the consultation between professionals and artisans in Fiji on the programme framework and guideline. The second phase of the programme will involve a trial and review process and the publication of the Educational Resource Kit. The final stage includes the Training of Trainers for key resource people in UK, who will be trained to facilitate awareness workshops for Fijian youths and the communities.
In progressively developing this programme, the Educational Resource Kit Development workshop was organised this week from Monday 4th to Friday 6th November at GCC Complex Conference Room. The workshop saw 20 participants who are experts in the Fijian language and culture develop an educational resource kit, which will be instrumental in the Training of Trainers programme for the Fijian communities next year in England.
Speaking at the official opening of this workshop, Fiji’s Roving Ambassador Mr Esala Teleni expressed appreciation towards this initiative to promote the Fijian language and culture, which is recognised as an important tool for migrant communities around the world to maintain links with their countries of origin. Ambassador Teleni said that the cultural values and heritage are important components of cultural diplomacy in strengthening diplomatic relations and in promoting cultural diversity and unity. He reiterated to the participants on the importance and gravity of their task in developing the Educational Resource Kit.
The Senior Culture and Heritage Specialists at the iTaukei Trust Fund Board (TTFB), Dr Apolonia Tamata said that given the significance of the programme, there is potential for it to be rolled out for the Fijian Diaspora in other parts of the world. Dr Tamata said that the Fijian Cultural Programme complements the TTFB’s vision on developing and facilitating initiatives to improve the quality of life and enhance appropriate cultural traditions and values of iTaukei and Rotumans, through mandated objectives regarding the promotion and preservation of language, culture, heritage and the arts.