[Translate to arabic:] “The Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage and the World Today” was the topic of a panel discussion hosted by Phoenix Satellite TV on 15 October 2013 at UNESCO. The Panel was followed by the inauguration of a photo exhibition and a performance by artists from China’s Shaanxi province.
[Translate to arabic:] The Panel was attended by Nigerian Nobel Prize for Literature Laureate Wole Soyinka, Professor Homi Bhabha of Harvard University, former French Culture Minister, Renaud Donnedieu de Vabre, Professor Xu Jialu, Chairman of the Nishan Forum on World Civilizations, and Chairman of Phoenix Satellite TV, Liu Changle.
Language, memory, identity and community are at the heart of the 2003 Intangible Cultural Heritage Convention. Ratified by over 155 countries, the Convention helps to safeguard “traditions or living expressions inherited from our ancestors and passed on to our descendants, such as oral traditions, performing arts, social practices, rituals, festive events, knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe or the knowledge and skills to produce traditional crafts". Panelists underlined the importance of research and the need to create a framework that goes beyond the Convention by helping Member States protect intangible heritage. “We have to work towards understanding of new humanism, which should be based on values of the Intangible Cultural Heritage and be part of the curriculum of contemporary humanity. Migration makes intangible heritage no more local issue,” said Homi Bhabha.
As Wole Soyinka pointed out, the intolerance is the biggest challenge and threat to the values that the Convention defends. To protect diversity, we must broaden the world’s understanding that cultural diversity is our common heritage. Its protection is an ethical imperative, inseparable from respect for human dignity.
“Liu Changle stressed that nowadays Media can make a significant contribution to promote cultural diversity by explaining to the general public what intangible heritage is and why it has to be preserved for future generations”.