Maria Nobrega Foundation: Brief Resume of 2015

My Dear Chairman and Trustees,
The speed with which the year passes seems to accelerate and it is difficult to believe that 2015 has gone in what seems a flash and we have already started 2016.
I wrote last year from our home in Archita, Transylvania amid the snow and sub-zero temperatures and this year from London, where the daffodils are already in bloom in Kew Gardens. Many families in England have spent a desperate Christmas and New Year due to the worst flooding in half a century.
It was with great sadness that I reported to you in April the unexpected death of Dr Ron Van Oers on a UNESCO mission to Lhasa, Tibet. His support and guidance is greatly missed.
His colleague in Shanghai was Sra Sabina Ciobaota who visited us in Archita and has been of great assistance in preparing submissions on our behalf to UNESCO.

Our work in the World Heritage Township of Olinda at Igreja Misericorda is now complete and our accounts satisfactorily audited. This latter is no mean achievement as the Federal Accountancy Regulations are constantly subject to review and change, often retrospectively. We are indebted to the Foundation’s Secretary, Edmilson Rodrigues.

On 3rd July 2015, through the good offices of Professor Pietro Laureano, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between UNESCO World Water Assessment Programme and the International Traditional Knowledge Institute. The Foundation is a Founding Member of the latter. A copy of the Memorandum is attached. The development and implementation of various water related studies will be a principal focus for the Institute and the Foundation in 2016.

In my last report I referred to the planned completion of the new Archita Medical Centre in 2015. Regrettably this has not happened, principally due to political pressures. We hope that these will find resolution in 2016. However, we did establish a temporary Clinic and Pharmacy in Von Sternberg House and this has functioned smoothly throughout the year. The Archita Clinic has proved to be an invaluable lifeline to the people of the village, not only for health reasons but as a centre of social awareness.
In June we were received by HRH The Prince of Wales at his house in Zalan Patak. His Royal Highness takes great interest in the work of the Foundation and we are deeply indebted to him for his continuing support and guidance.
The second Archita Music Festival in August was a great success and very well attended. We were pleased to welcome as our guests HRIH Andreas Hapsburg, THs Prince Gheorghe and Princess Anne Sturdza, the famous Romanian film star, Maia Morgenstern, Maestro Gheorghe Tomescu and Trustees of the Foundation. Plans are in hand to stage the third Festival on 6th August 2016.
We have continued with restoration works in the village, particularly on the Saxon House and completing urgent repairs to a second property.
In November we agreed with the Lutheran Consistoriou a 25 year lease on the Speck Tower, which forms part of the defensive outer perimeter walls of the church and abut the village green. It is our intention to use these spaces to develop an Information Centre, a Traditional Products Shop and Café.
In December we concluded an agreement to implement a joint venture programme in 2016 with Lions Clubs International.

Annamaria and Giuseppe Biagini have been tireless in their work to develop the data input to the International Traditional Knowledge Institute. Their work has culminated in the approval and sponsorship of the UNESCO International Traditional Knowledge Institute Conference to be held in Tucson from 3 to 6 November 2016. A more detailed report will follow.

Our great friend and colleague Professor Serenella Ensoli, Professor of Roman Architecture at the University of Naples, has continued her work at the Sanctuary of Apollo in Libya. Trustees will find a useful link to the site at KAOS COLLECTIVE’’ Roman Amphitheatre.


I have set myself two principal objectives for 2016, the development of the UNESCO –ITKI Partnership and the development of the Heritage Television Channel. I am conscious of the support and wise guidance I receive from Trustees and look forward to seeing as many of you as I can in 2016.


Archita, Romania - August 6 (Saturday)

Tucson, Arizona - October 26-30 -


HRH The Prince of Wales
HRIH Andreas Hapsburg
THs Prince Gheorghe and Princess Anne Sturdza
Dame Zaha Hadid – Architect - See:
Under Secretary of State for Culture - Mme Irina Cajal-Marin
HE Paul Brummel - British Ambassador to Romania
General Marinuta Vitalie - Republic of Moldova
Ciprian Dobre - President Mures County
Meyer Gavrila - Mayor of Sighisoara
Professor Dr Radu Deac – Heart Transplant Surgeon
Professor Dr Horatiu Suciu – Heart Transplant Surgeon
Dr Petter Oprean – Chief Medical Officer Laslea Hospital
Mme Rodica Biro – President Casa Asigurari de Sanatate Mures
Mme Angela Kovacs – Chief Architect Mures County
Mme Maia Morgenstern – Film Star - See: You Tube Maia Morgenstern EMMA Awards
Maestro Alexandru Tomescu – International Violinist - See:
Maestro Alexandru Gavrilovici – Founder Academia Sighisoara
Gheorghe Fikl –Romanian Artist - See:
David Istvan – Governor Lions District 124 Romania
Mr Justin Mundy – Director, Office of HRH The Prince of Wales
Archita Music Festival
August 2015
Photo by F. Vratny