President and Treasurer Dr. N. (Nico) Nobel founded The Tribal Cultural Heritage in India Foundation in 2008. The present board includes Ludwig Pesch (Secretary, website administrator), and Elisabeth den Otter (Member). Jowa Imre Kis-Jovak (architect) and Dr. Jet Bakels (cultural anthropologist) had served as Secretary and Member respectively from 2008 to 2010.
Dr. N. (Nico) Nobel (1933)
studied Law at Leiden University. He subsequently worked in Amsterdam as a tax-lawyer and as a publisher of articles and newsletters about Dutch and international tax law.
As a student, Nobel became friends with an Indian boy studying at Cambridge University. This friend invited him to tour India after finishing his studies, and he accepted. In 1958 he completed a 7 month tour through India by car, nearly covering the entire country. Having made a number of new friends, he returned often for short visits. As a result, Nobel regards India as a second home, and himself as half-Dutch and half-Indian.
During his many stays, Nobel saw not only attractive areas of the country but also the misery in which a large portion of the population still lives. These are conditions of life that, fortunately, no longer exist in Western society. Nobel was inspired to make a difference, and began organizing charitable activities in India after his retirement. With some money of his own he founded a Charitable Trust that, after a few years, also received support from CORDAID, a large, semi-public charitable organization in the Netherlands as well as from Dutch and Indian Rotary Clubs. From 1998 to 2005, the Trust financially supported several non-governmental organizations (NGOs) for charitable work to help prostitutes and their children, HIV-AIDS wards, leprosy colonies, orphanages, cataract operations for the blind, and many other important causes.
In addition to managing the Charitable Trust, Nobel maintained continuous contact with Indian NGO workers, also traveling to meet them and see their work up close. Due to his age and the increasing demands of this work, he stopped at the end of 2005, handing over the responsibility to two Dutch couples. One of the couples is Jasper Kappen and his wife Flora. Since 2006, Nobel has focused on the activities of the Childtuition Foundation.
Ludwig Pesch (1955)
is an Amsterdam-based musicologist, educator and musician. He was trained in Germany and India. An active participant in Europe’s dialogue with India, he received the Cross of the Order of Merit conferred by the President of the Federal Republic of Germany “for his outstanding contribution to cultural relations with India”, and the Rabindranath Tagore Cultural Award (Kulturpreis) of the Indo-German Society (DIG) “in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the spread of knowledge about India’s spirit and life”.
He has developed novel ways for delivering intercultural music education in programmes used by schools, colleges, universities, museums and a pioneering e-learning course for South Indian music (carnaticstudent.org). Play/game based activities include the hands-on approach documented in Vaitari: A musical picture book from Kerala for which he wrote the manual for parents and teachers; and integrated learning projects presented at several world conferences for music education (isme.org).
His publications include a critically acclaimed reference work, The Oxford Illustrated Companion to South Indian Classical Music and a chapter in Integrated Music Education. Challenges for Teaching and Teacher Training by M. Cslovjecsek & M. Zulauf (Eds), Bern (in press).
Educational website: www.aiume.org
Elisabeth den Otter (1941)
studied cultural anthropology at the University of Leiden from 1972 till 1979. She specialized in the performing arts (music, song, dance, puppetry) of non-western peoples, as well as audiovisual anthropology. She did fieldwork in Peru, Brasil, Birma and Mali.
She was an active member of groups involved in indigenous peoples: Work Group Southamerican Indians and Netherlands Center for Indigenous Peoples.
From 1988 till 2003 she was Curator of the Department of Ethnomusicology of the Tropenmuseum (Royal Tropical Institute) Amsterdam. In 1996 she curated a major exhibition on puppets in Asia and Africa, where puppets and shadow figures from Andra Pradesh, Orissa, Kerala and Rajasthan were shown. In 2003, she attended a large puppet festival in New Delhi, organized by the Sangeet Natak Akademi, where 35 groups from different states performed, usually accompanied by live music. An exhibition showed many puppets and shadow figures. Photos and video excerpts can be seen on her website, under Puppets/India.
She produces audio-CDs and DVDs with documentary films on her label Samaké Records, and has her own Website: www.elisabethdenotter.nl.
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Registered in Noordwijk (The Netherlands) as Stichting Tribal Cultural Heritage in India Foundation
Banner photo and art: courtesy Arun VC (Kerala)