ITKI – International Traditional Knowledge Institute
After a long journey that has involved the public administrations of Tuscany (Region, Province, and local council), the Italian Ministry of Environment, organizations of the United Nations, private foundations and non-profits (Nobrega Foundation, Foundation Romualdo del Bianco, Ipogea), international experts and scholars gathered at numerous conferences and engaged in pilot projects and experiences, the International Traditional Knowledge Institute (ITKI) was established in 2010. The Institute has the legal form of a private association created by members, supporters and foundations, which can contribute in various ways as defined by the statute. Each of the founding members will make a €50,000 donation toward the Institute’s capital endowment. Having fulfilled the requisites set out by UNESCO, ITKI will be presented at the 2011 General Conference for UNESCO for recognition as a UNESCO Category II Institute. ITKI is the hub of an international proposal for the inventory, preservation and dissemination of innovative traditional knowledge.
ITKI’s mission is to create a data bank of traditional techniques and sustainable technologies that will become a prime source of visibility and certification for ideas, practices, and businesses committed to the preservation of landscapes, ecosystems and cultural heritage. Through ITKI, traditional solutions and innovative proposals will be disseminated by the 800+ UNESCO sites worldwide and by an international network of foundations, study centers, experts and practitioners. The Institute’s global headquarters will be in Europe, with regional headquarters in the Americas, Africa, Asia and Oceania.
For its global headquarters ITKI has chosen the Gualchiere di Remole, on the outskirts of Florence, Italy. A primary objective of the Institute is to guarantee that public awareness of this medieval water mill is maintained by restoring the buildings, creating a museum of traditional hydraulic technology (by reinstating the site’s system of water wheels and milling devices and creating permanent exhibitions of traditional techniques and machinery and their innovative use) and recovering the surrounding meadows and woodlands using procedures guided by respect, sustainability, and eco-compatibility.