Introductory Message by the Chair of the Editorial Board of the “Online Encyclopedia of Crafts in Asia Pacific Region (APR) Traditional Handmade Products”

This is an Introductory message to the “Online Encyclopedia of Crafts in Asia Pacific Region (APR) – Traditional Handmade Products”.

I would also like to introduce myself as President of World Crafts Council-Asia Pacific Region (2013-2020) and Chair of the Editorial Board, of this Online Encyclopedia project.

I would first like to extend my thanks to the Executive Board Members of the World Crafts Council- Asia Pacific Region (WCC-APR), both the subregional Vice-Presidents and the Honorary and Advisory members, as well as, to the Editorial Committee members of the Encyclopedia: Mr.Indrasen Vencatachellum, Ms.Usha Krishna and Yang Mulia Raja Datin Paduka Fuziah Binti Raja Tun Uda, who encouraged my initiative for establishing this important publication. Many thanks as well, are due to the writers of the articles, the local editors, to the developers, to APR Secretariat and to all those who contributed to this work.

The project of the Encyclopedia of Handicrafts emerged from my belief in combining academic studies & research with technical/ practical knowledge, as it is intended to be an authoritative reference to traditional handicrafts in the Asia Pacific countries, which is considered an investment in the handicraft future of WCC-Asia Pacific Region.

We are fortunate that nowadays there is some degree of awareness among nations to save their cultural heritage before sinking into the pit of oblivion. Nations are keen on preserving, safeguarding, and nurturing traditional handicrafts, due to the fact that these crafts comprise a basic component of their tangible cultural heritage, which expresses and reflects their distinctive national identity. While this Encyclopedia helps to instill in each community a sense of great pride, it also opens such communities to a diversified spectrum of other cultures by establishing common grounds across the boundaries for networking.

When the World Crafts Council was established in 1964, its mission and objective were to bring handicrafts and crafts people into the main stream of life, through “raising awareness of the value of the people’s cultural heritage”.  Hence, I believe that this academic project is a new form of expressing  and fulfilling part of the World Crafts Council’s mission.  Being the President of Asia Pacific Region (APR) in the World Crafts Council, I seized the opportunity of my post to initiate the Encyclopedia Flagship Project during my first term of Presidency (2013-2016), and to launch it during my second term (2017-2020).

The Content of the Encyclopedia covers as many traditional crafts as possible in each member country of the WCC-Asia-Pacific Region, accompanied with relevant photos. It will serve the craftspeople and researchers as a reference for information and scholarly work.

As for the procedure of Work Flow of this publication, I am grateful to Dr.Kevin Murray, the Coordinating Editor and the APR-Senior Vice President and Vice President of the South Pacific subregion, who has prepared an intensive guideline, and a comprehensive list needed for writers, editors and coordinators.

It is worth mentioning here that this project is non-profit, and is not supported by an organization, institution, corporation or governmental authority, it is totally funded by me. It has no crutches of support to lean on, as it is a purely individual initiative prompted by my sense of responsibility towards such an important facet of human culture, i.e., handicrafts, and their creators, the craftspeople. It also emerges from my enthusiasm and sense of duty to serve the World Crafts Council’s mission and objectives to nurture, strengthen & promote an important component of humanity’s cultural heritage, which hopefully creates awareness of cultural differences that will eventually lead to networking, that promotes intercultural dialogue which will consequently bring them to know each other, accept one another and ultimately establish friendship, harmony and peace.

Last but not least, I would like to give credit for my two sons Dr.Nabil & Sa’ad Qaddumi, who gave me utmost support and great encouragement to fulfill my dream of accomplishing this cultural project.

Dr.Ghada Hijjawi-Qaddumi

President, WCC-Asia Pacific Region (2013-2020)

Please find Dr Ghada’s opening remarks at the virtual forum for the Encyclopedia of Crafts in the Asia Pacific on 10 August 2020 here.