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North-East India Archive Summit at St. Anthony's College held

By Brother Fulstar Sohtun sdb
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Shillong, Jul. 29. Shillong: The two day North-East India Archive Summit was successfully held on the 19th and 20th of July at St. Anthony's College at Shillong. Organised by the Department of Mass Media, the summit commenced with an inauguration program that included the Principal, Rev. Brother Dr. Albert L. Dkhar's address and a presentation by Prof. Nathaniel N. Majaw, Project Director of The North East Archive, highlighting the importance of the yet to be launched North East India Archive. Yui Nakamura, Senior Programme Officer, Sasakawa Peace Foundation, Japan was also present and addressed the gathering about the role of her foundation in the setting up of the archive.
It was followed by two thematic sessions, the first on the Archiving in Photography moderated by Father D. John Jayakumar, founder of the Mass media Department, Shillong and included Mr. Ahmed Hussain, Mr. Ashok Elwin, Mr. Kyntiewbor War, Mr. Ian Lyngdoh, Mr. Promise Tamang, Mr. Conrad Syiem and Mr. Elyon Blah. The session commenced with the Head of the Department of Cultural and Creative Studies, NEHU, Prof. Desmond Kharmawphlang's address on the importance of documenting oral cultures and archives. The post lunch session was on Archiving in Films moderated by Mr. Ian Lyngdoh and included Mr. Alan Kharkongor, Mr. Kyntiewbor War, Mr Geoffrey Basan and well known filmmaker Mr. Dominic Sangma.

The second day of the summit started with a thematic session on Archiving in Sound as a medium of communication moderated by Mr. Donboklang Ryntathiang, and included Rudy Wallang, Ferdy A Dkhar, Lennard Phawa, K Mark Swer followed by a session on Archiving of News and Events moderated by Mr. R.G. Lyngdoh, Former Home Minister, Writer and Musician and included Veteran News Journalist, Billy Domes, Savio Diengdoh, Zorba Laloo, Ahmed Hussain and Rikynti Marwein. This was followed by a Round Table Discussion on Archives and a Sense of History moderated by Tarun Bhartiya with Dr. David R Syiemlieh, Former Chairman of Union Public Service Commission, New Delhi, delivering a key-note address and included Rev. K. Pyrtuh, Brother M.A. Abraham, Father P.V. Joseph, Sweety Diengdoh and Khasimon Phanbuh. Prof. Andrew May, Historian, at University of Melbourne also joined the discussion through video conferencing. The two day summit ended with the declaration of The North East India Archive Charter by Prof. Nathaniel N. Majaw.

Dr. David R. Syiemlieh in his keynote address, stressed the necessity of ''restrictions in the use of certain collections within the archive for efficient management and preservation of such materials'' and also talked about ''the subjective conclusions stemming from future research that may or may not aid in the cultural construction and reconstruction of historical narratives''; among the other points that he raised. During the different sessions, the discussants also expressed their various concerns regarding ''the digitization of archival material juxtaposed against the matter of information overload and cyber sabotage,'' questions pertaining to ''what constitutes endangered records and documents that could be given a top priority status in the archive''. Touching ''the ethical, cultural and legal aspects of archiving'', the discussions also explored the challenges of housing an archive with ''unique, rare and specialised material in the physical as well as digitised format of record keeping.''
With a number of eminent personalities present who have contributed much to their fields the two days ended with some very salient matters of concern that the setting up of the due to be launched Northeast archive could consider in its future course of action.
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