Ms Moe Chiba
Chief of Culture Unit,
UNESCO Jakarta Office, Indonesia
Moe Chiba is presently Chief of Culture Unit at UNESCO Jakarta office for Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia and Timor Leste since 2018.
She joined UNESCO HQ in 2000 and began her career in the Division of Creative Industry and subsequently in the Division of Cultural Policies in charge of developing a new international convention of UNESCO on the diversity of cultural content and artistic expressions.

After moving to UNESCO New Delhi office for South Asia in 2006 where poverty remains a rampant national issue, her focus has shifted on mainstreaming culture into development process. Some of her main areas of work then include heritage-based urban development, culture for rural livelihood and participation of persons with disabilities in cultural life.  Moving to Jakarta, she continues her passion for culture-based development, and coordinates projects such as disaster risk reduction of heritage, promotion of youth entrepreneurs around heritage sites, and cultural landscape management.  
Keynote Presentation

Engaging Youth to Lead Intangible Cultural Heritage:
Observation of a UNESCO Field Officer
When we were young, what was our primary concern? Dating, having fun, finding jobs and secure a good quality of life. It is more than legitimate that a young person wants to focus on building a stable and fulfilling future. How does intangible cultural heritage fit into this? Does engaging in intangible cultural heritage guarantee them that rewarding future?

In many countries where poverty is a rampant issue, heritage conservation is still a rich person’s hobby. You can afford to talk about heritage only when you have fulfilled your basic needs. It would be irresponsible to encourage young people to continue their traditional practice when their community struggles to survive. In turn, if we manage to demonstrate that ICH is a viable livelihood option, the younger generation will naturally show interest. Several projects and case studies testify to this observation.

Art for Life rural development project with the NGO, Banglanatak dot com, targeting more than 3000 rural artisans and performers in West Bengal (India) since 2006 has proven that with adequate capacity-building, rural traditional artistic skills can become a source of stable livelihood. The project provides multiple types of training, not only in ICH skills per se but also in accounting, cost calculation, English conversation and marketing. The project also provided social security and bank accounts.  With a steady income, the social image of ICH bearers has improved from that of ‘’beggars” to the ‘’artists”. As their parents start taking pride, the young naturally starts joining the movement. As a result, the number of practitioners increased, and their average age younger. The number of outmigration also reduced, because the young generation now can choose to earn income while staying in their village.

An initiative by the Digital Empowerment Foundation to introduce IT training to the traditional weaver’s community in Chanderi, Madhya Pradesh (India), has created a new inter-generational dynamic. The younger generation supports the parents’ work with their skills in graphic design, online sales and tourism.  As the youths learned to use the internet and access government websites, they can also assist their parents to avail of government schemes.

Kita Muda Kreatif (Creative Youth) programme by UNESCO in Indonesia adopts the same approach. It supports the youngsters living around the famous heritage sites to grow into entrepreneurs to lead and promote the local cultures. Under the programme, they learn basic accounting, product development, branding and social media marketing.

These projects don’t preach about the importance of heritage preservation but aim at equipping the young with life skills to navigate this world. Nobody can blame young people for being self-centred and preoccupied with their financial security. If we want to engage the youth in ICH safeguarding, let us focus on securing their financial stability. 
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National Heritage Board