Japan grant provides partial funding for Nan Madol Cultural Center

By Bill Jaynes

The Kaselehlie Press

January 17, 2019

NanMadolPohnpei—This morning Ambassador Ryoichi Horie and Governor Marcelo Peterson signed official paperwork for a Japanese grant to construct the Nan Madol Cultural Center.  The $181,394 grant came from Japan’s Cultural Grass Roots Project funds.

The new cultural center will serve as a visitor’s center and educational center at Nan Madol which has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site.  The total cost of the cultural center is $468,616.42 and will house cultural artifacts along with displays to explain the historic and cultural significance of Nan Madol.  The FSM Congress has committed to the remaining cost.

Resources and Development Director Nick Solomon outlined the scope of the project during today’s ceremony.  During his presentation he said that senior citizens would act as guides in the center, sharing stories of Nan Madol and Pohnpei’s culture.

“Even before I came to this country two and a half years ago,” said Ambassador Horie during his speech, “I recognized the tremendous importance of Nan Madol for the world and the FSM.  “It will enhance and deepen the social and cultural integrity and continuity of this country, as the UNESCO document said, I quote, ‘Nan Madol is tangibly associated with Pohnpei’s continuing social and ceremonial traditions and the authority of the Nahnmwarki.’”NanMadol2

“Ladies and gentlemen,” he continued, “when it was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, Nan Madol was also inscribed on the world heritage list in danger.  I hope all the stakeholders will make joint efforts to remove this proper from the list of World Heritage sites in danger.  In this connection, I highly appreciate the assistance of the US Government and Ambassador Riley with the US Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation Grant and the Fund for Interpreting Micronesian Cultural Heritage through Media, which was announced last year.  With such joint effort by the FSM, Pohnpei State, the US, Japan and all other stakeholders, I really hope that Nan Madol will continue to give the World Heritage its real meaning.”

Governor Peterson stood and spoke with great thanks for the support that the government of Japan gave during the process of consideration by UNESCO to make the historic site a UNESCO recognized World Heritage site.

NanMadol3Isapahu Nahnmwarki of Madolenihmw, Kerpet Hebel echoed that sentiment during his closing speech after the signing had been completed.  His speech was translated by Hainrick Stevenson.  Isapahu surprised the participants in the room including Ambassador Horie when he announced that he was bestowing a traditional title on the Ambassador for his help and continued support on the Nan Madol restoration.

State and national officials attended the ceremony which was held at the residence of the Japanese Ambassador.

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