UAE, UNESCO sign an agreement to establish ICSICH

December 09, 2021 / 12:45 PM
Sharjah24: The United Arab Emirates and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) have signed an agreement to establish the International Center for Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Arab Countries in the Emirate of Sharjah. The Center, aimed at strengthening the efforts of the Emirate of Sharjah and the UAE in protecting and promoting intangible cultural heritage, will be based at the Sharjah Institute for Heritage (SIH).
The ceremony took place at the House of Wisdom in Sharjah, where the agreement was signed by Her Excellency Noura bint Mohammed Al Kaabi, Minister of Culture and Youth and Chair to the National Commission for Education, Culture and Science, and Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of the UNESCO, in the presence of Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, President of the International Publishers Association (IPA) and Founder and CEO of the UAE-based Kalimat Group (KG), His Excellency Dr Abdulaziz Al Musallam, Chairman of the Sharjah Institute for Heritage and Abdullah Al Owais, Chairman of Sharjah Department of Culture, and HE Salma Al Darmaki, Secretary General of UAE National Commission for Education, Culture, and Science, Sheikh Salem Al Qassimi, UAE Permanent Delegate to UNESCO.

A legacy for future generations
Her Excellency Noura bint Mohammed Al Kaabi emphasized the leading role played by the UAE in preserving and protecting intangible cultural heritage, saying that the country’s work in this field benefits all humanity. She added that global cooperation and partnerships are required to preserve this legacy for future generations, and to establish institutions capable of reaching this goal.

HE pointed out that the establishment of the International Center for Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Arab Countries in the Emirate of Sharjah confirms UNESCO’s confidence in the UAE and its ability to deliver the necessary capabilities, as well as the Emirate of Sharjah’s distinguished position in the field of culture and heritage.

Enhancing Sharjah’s position in the creative and cultural economy 
For his part, His Excellency Dr Abdulaziz Al Musallam, Chairman of SIH welcomed the announcement of the establishment of the Center, which will undoubtedly boost the Emirate of Sharjah’s position, and that of the UAE, in the creative and cultural economy, establishing it as a pioneer in the preservation and promotion of the intangible cultural heritage at the regional and global levels, praising the directives and efforts of His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, in supporting and preserving the intangible cultural heritage, and the parties involved in its promotion and preservation. 

Al Musallam said: “The intangible cultural heritage is one of the key components of human civilization and serves as an indication of the renaissance and progress of peoples and societies. Its preservation can help achieve reconciliation between cultures and nationalities, establishing among them the values of understanding, cooperation, and peace. The International Center for Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Arab Countries will serve as a beacon for achieving these goals, towards which all nations stive.” 

He stated that enhancing the capacity of those working in the field of intangible cultural heritage contributes to encouraging intercultural dialogue and fostering mutual respect among all. He added that protecting the identity and cultural diversity of a population is vital, and that all elements related to heritage, from customs, traditions, rituals, and practices to skills, arts, and crafts, should be protected and preserved.

Strengthening institutional capacities in Arab countries
Under the agreement, the Center will focus on strengthening the 2003 Convention for the Protection of Intangible Cultural Heritage, implementing it in Arab countries, extending institutional capacities to protect intangible cultural heritage in Arab countries, promoting the purposes and objectives of the Convention, raising the level of community, group and individual participation in the protection of intangible cultural heritage, raising awareness of intangible cultural heritage, and strengthening regional and international cooperation to protect intangible cultural heritage.

Implementation of programs and activities
Under the auspices of UNESCO, the Center will work to implement short- and long-term capacity-building programs and activities in the field of intangible cultural heritage, based on the program developed by UNESCO for the effective implementation of the 2003 Convention, and to adapt capacity-building materials and data developed by UNESCO to fit the regional context and ensure its translation into Arabic.

The Center will also build communication networks between concerned communities, groups, and individuals to support the transmission and dissemination of intangible cultural heritage, organize events and public meetings at the regional and international levels, and exchange information and knowledge related to the protection of intangible cultural heritage.

It is worth noting that the Emirate of Sharjah also hosts the Arab Regional Centre for World Heritage (ICCROM-Sharjah), which was established in 2011 by the International Center for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM), which is affiliated with UNESCO, in partnership with the Government of Sharjah. This Center seeks to enhance the capabilities of workers across the official heritage institutions of the Member States to enable them to sustainably manage cultural heritage sites, historical monuments, and museum collections.

December 09, 2021 / 12:45 PM

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