“Living Heritage Safeguarding and Sustainable Development. Training for trainers”, Lemnos – May 2023 | Report

The Capacity Building Workshop with the title “Living Heritage Safeguarding and Sustainable Development. Training for trainers for Greece”, which was organised by the Directorate of Modern Cultural Heritage of the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports, the Mediterranean Institute for Nature and Anthropos (MedINA) and the Regional Center for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage in SE Europe and took place on the island of Lemnos, was successfully completed!

UNESCO facilitators Harriet Deacon & Benedetta Ubertazzi and seventeen experienced trainees (representatives of cultural institutions, academics, cultural managers, architects, teachers) shared ideas and approaches that combine the safeguarding of the intangible cultural heritage with sustainable development, while discussing the challenges arising from this connection, as well as possible ways to address them. The development of actions and projects in the context of cultural tourism and the promotion of products deriving from various aspects of intangible cultural heritage, always with a view to safeguarding, were also discussed. Time was also devoted to the acquisition process and the importance of protected designation of origin (PDO) of products, as well as to the issue of copyright protection in relation to intangible cultural heritage. Finally, the participants, discussed and recorded a series of proposals for MedINA, regarding the most effective utilisation of intangible cultural heritage in the sustainable development of Lemnos.

During the seminar, the participants, apart from the trainers’ presentations, had the opportunity to be presented with extremely interesting information by:

  • Alexis Katsaros, Director of MedINA, who presented the study of a model sheep farm, which is based on the model of the traditional Lemnian farm,
  • Irene Lyratzaki, MedINA Cultural Heritage Specialist, who presented MedINA’s Terra Lemnia project,
  • Rigas Zafiriou, who as Coordinator of MedINA’s Terra Graeca project, spoke  about the opportunities for sustainable tourism development through the exploitation of the agri-food heritage of the island of Lemnos,
  • Sophie Hapsi, who, as a local businesswoman, highlighted the connection between cultural tourism and gastronomy,
  • Polina Chatzigeorgiou, representing  Estate Chatzigeorgiou Limnos, who spoke about cultural tourism and its current and potential relationship with winemaking.
  • Aris Ikkos, Scientific Director of SETE Institute (INSETE), the research institute of the Association of Greek Tourism Enterprises, who shared very interesting information about the factors that play a role in shaping cultural tourism in Greece.

Another goal was for the participants to get to know the cultural heritage of the island and to be informed about the actions and projects developed on it.

For this reason, the following visits/actions were organised:

– Visit to the traditional Mantra of Athena Kavaleri (Retail Kavalleri Athena), who happily shared her experience as a Mantra owner and manager for the last 25 years.

Also, during our visit:

  • Raphael Giannelis, Project Officer of MedINA Terra Graeca Program, shared with us the secrets of basket weaving art.
  • Fotini Poriazi spoke about her activity in the production of traditional pastries with local varieties of cereals,
  • Panagiotis Chrysafis spoke about the cheese-making of the traditional cheese kalathaki, melichloro/melipasto, feta cheese and kashkavali.

– Visit to the Allied Cemetery of Moudros for the Anzac (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps – fallen soldiers of World War I).

– Experiential workshop at Flomari tavern, in Gomati village. There, participants were given the opportunity to prepare Lemnian pasta (valanes, autodia) and cheese (basket, melichloro), under the guidance of Sofi Hapsi and Raphael Giannelis respectively.

Lastly, we would like to address a warm thank you to:

  • The Mediterranean Center for Nature and Anthropos (MedINA) for the excellent collaboration and care for every aspect of this Workshop.
  • the Regional Center for the Safeguarding of ICH in SE Europe, with which Greece (as a member) has been collaborating for the last ten years and which is a source of inspiration for important projects such as this one.
  • UNESCO trainers Harriet Deacon and Benedetta Ubertazzi, who with their experience in safeguarding intangible cultural heritage offered new perspectives to the participants.
  • The participants, without whose active participation a workshop of this nature could not be considered successful.

We hope that this Workshop will be a source of inspiration and future collaborations!