On the 16th of July the international school network went to the Maldives embassy. We interviewed the Maldives ambassador by asking questions about Maldives that we didn’t know.
Maldives is an island country like Japan. People are familiar with seafood like Japan. Japan and Maldives relationships started from 1967. Japan is a very kind friend to Maldives. Many Maldive schools were built by Japanese people. Japan also built a sports center and many other buildings. The sea wall was also built by Japan which saved the Maldive people from the tsunami. Japan helped rebuild the Maldives island.
Independence day is coming soon. Maldives is the smallest country to get independence. Every independent country has the right.
Maldives is a 100% muslim country. There are traditions in each island. They are mostly Islamic traditions. The music and traditions are similar to North Africa.
In Maldives everybody knows how to read and write. Maldives has formal education. The development of the country made the education better. Each child has to go to school. In Maldives children from kindergarten can speak English. There are two universities in Maldives. One national university and one Islamic university.
Tourists come to see the beautiful beaches. Beaches are small, but each guest owns their beach in Maldives. Tourists come to see the fish and to do fishing. Diving is very famous in Maldives. Maldives is a very good place for relaxing. Celebrities visit Maldives because there are no paparazzis. Maldives has a small population. People come to see its natural beauty.
There is a rule in Maldives which is not to build anything higher than the palm trees. There are strict rules about the height. All the things are in the capital city of Maldives.
There are not much land animals. Many sea animals in Maldives. The fish is quite rich. There are sea birds. No farm animals.
Not enough space for many houses. Even though the families live separately they meet each other once a week. The family unit is very important for them. Maldives are making areas to preserve. People like to have big families. Before: (9 children) Now: (4-3 children). Maldive's women are stronger than men. There are no restricting in women.
Maldive people eat a lot of seafood. Tuna fish and rice are common food the Maldive's people eat. They eat tuna fish 3 times a day. They don’t really eat shell fish. They import rice/white rice. There are many kinds of recipes that have tuna fish in it. “Katsuobushi” is also famous in Maldives. ‘Katsuobushi’ is commonly ate in Japan, Maldives, and Sri Lanka.
Maldive is 1.5m above sea level. Global warming is threatening the country. Tuna fish might not stay in Maldives anymore, because the sea temperature is getting warmer. They are facing into many difficult problems. Coral reefs are protecting the island. They need proper agreement to protect the island. We should think about its importance.
(Reported by Karen Nishina)
Madoka Nishina 11th Saint Maur International School
Kate Shimizu 11th Seisen International School
Karen Nishina 5th Saint Maur International School
The Maldives has an exceptionally high literacy rate of 98%. The nation has modern educational objectives, and English medium schooling has been well introduced. H.E. Mr. Khaleel explained that human resources are the key of success and achievement. When the Maldives gained independence, only about 20 people had formal education, as there were no proper schools or educational facilities. Right now, the government is very focused on education. Education is free of charge, and those who can read and write in the island volunteered to become teachers. In this way, people gradually started to read and learn, and to contribute to the development of the whole nation.
Dhivehi is a compulsory subject in schools in the Maldives. The teaching medium is in English. School is compulsory for children.
There are private colleges and a national university in the nation. Also, a new Islamic university was established just this week.
Nature, tourism, fishing, animals
Most of Maldives' primary industry relies upon tourism in their resorts and marine life. Until a few years, diving was considered as Maldives' main attraction. However, the beautiful resorts in the islands of Maldives has become world famous and has brought attention. The Maldives is an island made up of islands only, with not much land area made up in each one of them. Thus, the resorts are known to be a spot for tourists where privacy can be held. Many beaches are reserved for tourists only and so famous celebrities are known to stay at these beaches for a private and peaceful vacation.
The Maldives has recently become a very popular honeymoon destination for tourists. Honeymoon covers about 80% of the tourist activities in the Maldives. Diving is also very popular amongst tourists。Before honeymoon was introduced, diving covered almost 90% of the activities.
Another dominant industry in the Maldives is fishing. Before the tourism industry developed, the Maldives relied on fishing completely. Its marine life consists of an abundance of unique fish and aquatic plants. The oceans of the Maldives are home to thousands of species of fish. Not many land animals can be seen except for those of chicken, goats, cats, and birds.
There are strict regulations in the Maldives to preserve the environment. Such laws include restricting buildings to be built that are taller than the coconut palm. Therefore all buildings and houses in the Maldives are one or two stories high. There are regulations on preserving the beaches and coral reefs as well.
There is a marine research center in the Maldives, which used to be run by the ministry. Now it is a part of a university.
Seafood is the main diet of the people in the Maldives. Tuna is eaten commonly three times a day, and like Japan, rice is an important staple food. Per capita, people in the Maldives eat more tuna than in Japan. One difference from the food in Japan is that people in the Maldives don’t eat shellfish. Right now this is being slowly introduced. Garia is a traditional meal in the Maldives, where brown/clear soup and tuna is eaten with water and salt. Currently the Maldives has been much modernized and various types of food are available.
There are 26 atolls in the Maldives, and 19 administrations. Schools and medical systems are located in the capital, and population stations are located in different places across the country.
The Maldives is an Islamic country, and so the people cherish Islamic values. One important factor of life for people in the Maldives is the close-knit family system. There are many extended families in the Maldives who living together unitedly. Even if family members are living separately, families often get together at least once a week (commonly on a Friday). The smallness and compactness of the country allows families to visit each other very easily.
The growing population of the Maldives is slowing. Families used to have about 9 children but families nowadays usually have only about 3 or 4 children.
H.E. Mr. Khaleel comments that women rights in the Maldives is very equal, with no restrictions. Many mothers who choose to work are working and contributing to society, with equal payment as men workers. There is a very high number of women also in the foreign ministry (of the public sector). H.E. Mr Khaleel explained that women take a major role in the development in the country. He said that the women living in the Maldives are one of the most free in the world, and that he is looking forward to seeing an even higher percentage of women participating in the government.
Relationship with Japan
Diplomatic relations between the Maldives and Japan had begun in 1967. The two countries have always been very good friends. H.E. Mr. Khaleel comments the Japan is the biggest development partner of the Maldives since the last 40 years.
There are several schools in the Maldives that were built by Japan. There are 5 schools built by Japan located in the capital, and almost all atolls have Japanese built schools. This has been a very crucial help to the people of Maldives because human resources plays a very important role in the nation’s economy. H.E. Mr. Khaleel says that the children in the Maldives greatly appreciate the support of Japan in building these schools, as they grow up knowing that their schools were built by Japan. The Japanese flag is shown on the buildings.
In terms of fishery, the Maldives was once only trading dried bonito to Sri Lanka and depended on this for foreign exchange. When Sri Lanka had stopped importing the dried bonito from the Maldives, Japan started to help develop the fishery sector. In the 1970s, fishing boat machinery (especially engines) were developed, supported by Japan. With this technology, people from the Maldives were able to go further into the ocean to fish than before when sail boats were used. With the help of the Japanese, the Maldives also established a canning factory for fish, and the Nippon Maldives Corporation started buying this and importing this to Japan.
In the early 1980s, Japan supported the Maldives in their communication system. In 1976, the Japanese government gave a public television station to the Maldives as a donation. H.E. Mr. Khaleel comments that this television system has become a very crucial element for the people in Maldives to start learning about other countries.
In 1987, as a gift from Japan in response to the request of a sea wall by the Maldives towards the whole world, Japan gave the nation a sea wall around the capital island. This importance was greatly appreciated after 2004, when the wall had played a role to protect the area from a tsunami. The Green Leaf award was given to Japan to show the appreciation from the Maldives.
The youth development sector built in the 1980s was a gift from Japan to the Maldives. The center contains indoor sports courts, which is to this day the largest and most important sports center in the entire country.
Last year, the president of the Maldives visited Japan. This further improved the very good relations between the two countries. On January 1, 2016 the Japanese Embassy will be newly established in the Maldives, again showing the excellent growing relations of the Maldives and Japan. H.E. Mr. Khaleel says that he is looking forward to many important things that will happen in the future.
H.E. Mr. Ahmed Khaleel commented that his goal is to try and develop the very good friendship between the two countries of the Maldives and Japan. He says that he would like to link many Japanese people with the people of the Maldives because cooperation will lead to the “key of success”. He says that it is important to work together to face global issues. He mentions that he believes knowing each other is the first step towards solving global problems, and that children are the key to understanding the country because they are the “leaders of tomorrow”.
H.E. Mr. Khaleel’s passion about working in Japan as an ambassador is that he is able to meet various people, including local people in stores and restaurants, because the most important thing to him about strengthening the relationship between the Maldives and Japan is to “reach out to Japanese people” and “learn about how to be helpful”.
The average elevation of the Maldives is 1.5 meters above sea level. The country is very small in terms of land size, and very low-lying. Global warming and climate change is causing sea level rise, which is threatening the country. The warmer sea temperature is affecting the coral reefs and tuna fish. The tuna fish population in the seas of the Maldives are decreasing as they are becoming more and more difficult to catch. Storms and rain are also increasing to become frequent and fierce in the Maldives. This also negatively affects the lives of the people because their economy is dependent on natural resources.
H.E. Mr. Khaleel says that it is very important to find agreements to protect the environment, and to hold and reserve this the situation. The country itself is very small so it needs the support of other nations. H.E. Mr. Khaleel comments that the people in the Maldives are trying their best to be a good example to the world by doing the right thing to save the environment. For example, the people in the Maldives are saving their energy resources and are fishing in a sustainable manner. Net fishing is now banned in the Maldives, and so people fish traditionally using fishing rods. H.E. Mr. Khaleel mentions that this allows “new generations to go on”.
H.E. Mr. Khaleel comments that he wants people to know and be aware of the importance of working together to protect the environment. He says “we must protect our planet together because climate change has no borders”.
(Reported by Madoka Nishina)