Dr. Felicia Beardsley presented a serial nomination for two sites on the islands of Pohnpei and Kosrae in Eastern Micronesia to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, UNESCO, World Heritage Committee in Pohnpei Micronesia on March 2013.
Beardsley, associate dean of the college of arts and sciences, has spent nearly 20 years traveling to and working in Micronesia.
“World Heritage designation opens the door to the opportunity of sustainable management of the islands, their environments and their heritage—within the context of the world, these are fragile ecosystems and their loss is our loss,” Beardsley said. “They essentially become part of the collective history of the world. And with designation there comes an increase in pride of place for the Micronesians, but also a deep emotional connection for international visitors who see these sites as part of themselves and something shared with everyone else on the planet.”
If Pohnpei and Kosrae are designated they will be preserved, conserved and protected so that future generations can enjoy them.
“My participation is focused on the archaeological knowledge of these sites and the region, their long-term conservation needs, and their standing as national treasures in this small country,” Beardsley said.
UNESCO Apia, Somoa office Representative Akatsuki Takahashi is working closely with Beardsley to stay informed on the progress of the nomination of Nan Madol and Leluh, which are two of the sites nominated. The draft nomination will be collected by Takahashi in September 2013.
Nan Madol is a complex of more than 90 man-made islets on the reef platform off the coast of Temwen Island in Pohnpei. Leluh, Kosrae is similar, but is one continuous man-made island. Both were described as the “Venice of the Pacific” by World War II pilots who flew over the islands.
“Both Nan Madol and Leluh have been described as twin cities, or the empires of the sea kings,” Beardsley said.