SIF was honored to welcome the President of the ICOMOS International Tourism Cultural Committee, Sue Millar, and other delegates to the Vallée de Mai on Tuesday, October 20. The group made a visit to this World Heritage site to learn more about the cultural and natural heritage of Seychelles.
A group photo with the many students that participated in the event © SIF
Accompanying the group from ICOMOS was the Minister for Tourism and Culture, Mr. Alain St.Ange, and the CEO of the Heritage Foundation, Mr. Patrick Nanty; SIF CEO Dr. Fleischer-Dogley. representatives from UNESCO, the Seychelles Heritage Foundation, Seychelles Tourism Board, local schools, and Vallée de Mai staff. During the morning event, there were traditional dance performances, poems recited, and songs performed by students from the Friends of Vallée de Mai and Heritage clubs on Praslin. The students also gave a presentation on the ancient burial sites on Praslin and gave information on the beliefs that were associated with these historic sites. Damien Esther, a Friends of Vallée de Mai club member from Praslin Secondary School, gave a presentation on the benefits of Seychelles’ Heritage sites for education, using the Vallée de Mai as an example of this. The event was finished with a guided tour for all of the delegates around the forest where they got to see a Coco de Mer being de-husked.
ICOMOC-ICTC President Sue Millar (second from right) holds a Coco de Mer in the Vallée de Mai © SIF
ICOMOS-ICTC President Sue Millar commented that “the work SIF is doing is of the highest international standard for World Heritage sites, complete with the engagement of local people. I was interested in the way the students encouraged such confidence amongst the young people in terms of presenting and speaking in public; this is an enviable achievement. My thanks to all the many contributors of the interesting, enriching, and emotionally-fulfilling morning we spent at the Vallée de Mai.”
It was excellent to collaborate with the Heritage Foundation on this event, and it is hoped further work will continue to showcase Seychelles’ natural and cultural heritage.