The project ‘Young Leaders of the Diquís’ concludes with the creation of a youth association

Young people from southern Costa Rica have formed a youth association to take part in the management of the pre-Columbian cacique settlements with stone spheres of the Diquís, inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2014. The creation of this association has been formalized during the closing ceremony of the project “Young Leaders of the Diquis”, which has been implemented by UNESCO and the National Museum of Costa Rica and financed by the World Heritage Fund thanks to a financial contribution from Germany.

The formation of this association is a remarkable result of this project, whose objective has been to involve young people from neighboring communities, including indigenous peoples, and territories in the management of the four archaeological sites inscribed on the World Heritage List: Finca 6, El Silencio, Grijalba and Batambal, located in the canton of Osa, in southern Costa Rica. To this end, a series of workshops have been organized focused on strengthening knowledge about cultural heritage, as well as strengthening soft skills to enhance the leadership capacity of the young participants.

In total, more than 160 young men and women from the districts of Palmar, Ciudad Cortes, Sierpe, Bahia Ballena, Drake Bay and Piedras Blancas, as well as from the indigenous territories of Boruca and Rey Curré have been involved. In addition to gaining knowledge and skills in heritage management through the workshops, this project has allowed them to generate youth networks, carry out volunteer activities and participate in various initiatives of the National Museum of Costa Rica in the area.

The closing ceremony of the project took place on Saturday, December 18, 2021, with the participation of Mr. Julio Carranza, Director a.i. of UNESCO Cluster Office in San Jose, Mrs. Martina Nibbeling-Wriessnig, Ambassador of Germany in Costa Rica, Mrs. Rocío Fernández, Director of the National Museum of Costa Rica, Mrs. Yanina Chaverri, Vice Mayor of the Canton of Osa, Mr. Jeison Ariel Bartels Quirós, General Coordinator of the project, as well as young participants of the project and members of the benefited communities.

The German Ambassador to Costa Rica congratulated the young people for the success of the project and encouraged them to share with the rest of their communities the universal value of their cultural heritage, which she pointed out is an important factor in revitalizing tourism in the area.

For her part, the Director of the National Museum of Costa Rica emphasized that it is of great importance to implement a participatory approach that includes the communities in this locality. She also celebrated the formation of the youth association, with which the National Museum hopes to collaborate in the near future in the context of new research at the archaeological sites.

The Vice-Mayor of Osa Canton, joined in the congratulations to the young people and emphasized the crucial role of youth in the development of the canton and the protection of its cultural wealth.

Some of the young people took the floor to express their appreciation for the project in this area, where there are few opportunities for young people to recognize and take advantage of their potential. They emphasized the impact of this project at a personal and community level, while expressing their willingness to accompany future generations of young people so that they know how to value and protect their cultural heritage.

The young people then introduced the youth association’s board of directors, who will represent its 60 young members.

The protection of the world’s cultural and natural heritage is one of the goals of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The responsible use of this heritage can promote the social, economic and environmental development of local communities, while strengthening the social fabric and promoting appreciation of cultural diversity.