A group of ten students from Toyo Eiwa University, Japan paid our office a visit today, Monday, July 30, 2018. Dr. Takeshi Kohno accompanies the all-female student group on their tour in Aceh. The visit to TDMRC was a part of an international study tour to disaster-affected areas to learn how they have been rebuilt in a better way.
Arriving at TDMRC, the group was received by Dr. Ella Meilianda, our Program Manager, and Dr. Alfi Rahman, one of our researchers. The meeting started with the students’ group presentation on the profile of Toyo Eiwa University and their professor, Assoc. Prof. Aiko Sakurai, who is our long time research partner. The students also explained their objectives and activities during their visit to Aceh. The objectives include to understand disaster impacts to the people and society of Aceh and to compare the Acehnese and Japanese experiences of the disaster and a way of thinking about disaster preparedness.
Dr. Meilianda then took opportunity to give a comprehensive introduction to TDMRC, followed by a presentation by Dr. Alfi Rahman about Smong, a local indigenous knowledge about tsunami in Simeulue Island that saved virtually the entire society from the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami.
Among the lesson learnt from the discussion was that indigenous knowledge would be preserved better in societies that are isolated and small in number. But now that societies in Aceh are more exposed to globalization and becoming more urbanized, proactive steps need to be taken to conserve precious local indigenous knowledge, as it may contain clues that may save lives in the future.