Heritage Minister: Teaching history important to maintain country’s identity

Minister of Arts, Culture and Heritage Yumna Maumoon. (File Photo/Sun/Mohamed Afrah)

Heritage Minister Yumna Maumoon states that maintenance of Maldives’ identity depends on the extent to which people are taught and made aware of the country’s history. 

In a statement on occasion of the National History Day being celebrated on Sunday, Yumna said that Maldives had a long and rich history, and there was evidence of traditions, talent and skills the Maldivian people inherited from their ancestors. 

She said that the country’s main economic driver, the tourism industry had developed as an experience which offered little glimpse of the local lifestyle, and that the Maldivian history and traditions hadn’t been part of the country’s tourism experience until recently, despite tourists being allowed to stay in local islands with the introduction of guesthouse tourism. 

“But this has begun to change with tourism and events such as the yacht rally which was recently held under the title ‘Savaadheetha Dhathuru’. The beginning of tourists coming to Maldives to learn about our history, visit the historical landmarks here, and experience our culture will color the dream of tourism diversification and provide numerous economic benefits to the people,” she said. 

“The outcome of this will be deriving benefits from tourism in ways which hadn’t been done before.” 

Stressing that each atoll and each island enjoyed a unique and rich history, Yumna encouraged local councils to gather historic information on their respective islands and store them for easy use. 

She stressed the need to learn about historical events from senior citizens and archive the information. 

“The information gathered in this manner can be useful resources to train local guides who will guide tourists,” she said. 

Yumna said that there was also a need to further integrate history, tradition and culture into the school curriculum. She said that the Heritage Ministry was ready to work together with local councils and other relevant authorities to get it done. 

In a nod to the 50-year anniversary of tourism being celebrated in Maldives this year, the theme for this year’s National History Day is ‘Maldivian history and tourism’.