13 Nov CTC Joins First International Conference on Banda Studies

CTC joined distinguished experts in the first International Conference on Banda Studies (ICBS) to highlight the importance of conserving and protecting the unique biological and cultural heritage of the Banda Islands. The conference, which was held on October 30-31, 2023 in Banda Neira, Maluku Province, was organized by the University of Banda Neira with support from the Directorate General of Culture under the Ministry of Education, Culture, Research, and Technology and the Banda Heritage and Culture Foundation. 

The conference aimed to provide a forum and lay the foundation of new ideas and approaches for Banda Studies in the context of the Southeast Asian region. To that end, the conference also aimed to build an interdisciplinary knowledge framework, combining elements of the social sciences and humanities, and applied natural sciences for the purpose of exchanging ideas, exposing the latest theories, as well as discuss research methodologies relevant to current studies.

The ICBS brought together a wide-ranging panel of speakers from different academic disciplines who presented about the culture, history, archeology, ecology and conservation in the Banda Islands and was attended by around 150 participants. CTC Execute Director Rili Djohani was one of the key speakers and highlighted the role of local stakeholders in the conservation and management of Banda Islands’s marine resources as well as the important role of traditional marine resource management such as the sasi in strengthening conservation on the ground.

Among the highlights of the ICBS was the presentation of the Hikayat, a manuscript about the history of the Banda Islands from the collection of the Maritime Museum Amsterdam by Joella van Donkersgoed (principle investigator University of Luxembourg) and Isabelle Boon (documentary photographer). The story was written in 1922 by M.S. (Saleh) Neirabatij written in Malay. Neirabatij was an influential person in the village of Lonthoir on the island of Lontar. Historical sources written by local residents during the Dutch colonial rule in Indonesia are very rare. The Hikayat offers a Bandanese perspective on the (maritime) history of the Banda Islands. As far as is known, this is the oldest written source of the oral history of the Banda Islands.

After the conference, the first stone was laid for the new University of Banda Neira campus and dormitory by the Secretary General of the Ministry of Education and Culture Mrs. Suharti and University of Banda Neira Rector Dr. Muhamad Farid. CTC looks forward to continuing our collaboration with the University of Banda Neira and developing future learning and exchange programs for its students.

Photos: Rili Djohani/CTC

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