Oe-Cusse, June 4, 2024 – President Jose Ramos-Horta traveled to the Oe-Cusse region on Tuesday to witness an important cultural milestone – the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding to establish a museum celebrating the iconic Tais textiles of Timor-Leste.

The MoU was signed between Timor Aid, a local NGO, and the government of the Special Administrative Region of Oe-Cusse-Ambeno (RAEOA). It lays the groundwork for constructing the Tais Museum, aimed at preserving and promoting the cultural heritage around these traditional woven textiles.

Tais received global recognition in December 2021 when UNESCO inscribed the weaving practice on its list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, highlighting its significance to Timorese culture and identity.

Arriving by Aero Dili’s new Dili-Oe-Cusse flight route Tuesday morning, President Ramos-Horta was present as an official witness and observer to the historic signing ceremony.

“My presence is to bear witness and observe the MoU signing between Timor Aid Director Maria Ceo Lopes and the RAEOA authorities,” the President stated.

He congratulated the local RAEOA government, including its President, as well as the leadership of the ZEEMS special economic zone, for their efforts in driving economic development initiatives like the Tais Museum project in Oe-Cusse.

President Ramos-Horta went a step further, booking out the entire inaugural Aero Dili flight from his own funds. This gesture supported the new airline route while providing some of his staff their first experience of air travel.

At the ceremony, the President formally took on the role of “Tais Ambassador” to help increase global visibility and awareness around Timor-Leste’s iconic woven textiles.

The Tais Museum is scheduled to open in late 2025 and will showcase the rich history, artistry, and cultural significance of the traditional Tais weaving heritage in the Oecusse region.

This development represents an important step for Timor-Leste in safeguarding and promoting one of its most treasured cultural expressions for future generations.

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