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Nurturing the democratic debate.  
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03-11-2003 10:30 am On Friday November 7, UNESCO will make its second proclamation of Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. This international distinction honours the most remarkable examples of oral traditions and forms of cultural expression in all regions of the world.


The Director-General of UNESCO, Koïchiro Matsuura, will proclaim the new list of Masterpieces at a ceremony in the presence of the President of the international jury, the Spanish writer Juan Goytisolo at 2 p.m., in Room XI.

The proclamation aims to highlight popular and traditional forms of expression such as – inter alia – oral expressions and traditions, music and dance, rituals and mythology, knowledge and practices about nature and the universe, traditional craftsmanship, and cultural spaces.

This year, the Proclamation will be especially significant because of the recent adoption by UNESCO at the 32nd session of its General Conference of a Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage. The proclaimed Masterpieces will be inscribed on the Representative List of the Intangible Heritage of Humanity provided for in the Convention.

The jury, comprising 18 members, will meet November 3-6 to examine the 56 national and multi-national candidatures submitted by Member States of UNESCO. Each case was evaluated beforehand by specialist NGOs such as the International Council for Traditional Music, the International Social Science Council, the International Council for Philosophy and Humanistic Sciences, the International Puppeteers Union, the International Theatre Institute and the International Council of Museums.

The goal of the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage programme is to raise public awareness of the value of this heritage and encourage governments to take legal and administrative steps to safeguard it. UNESCO supports the implementation of action plans to safeguard Masterpieces already proclaimed.

In the first Proclamation, in 2001, 19 Masterpieces were given recognition. Among them was the Oruro Carnival (Bolivia), the Cultural Space of Sosso-Bala (Guinea), the Kutiyattam Sanskrit Theatre (India), the Sicilian puppet theatre Opera dei Pupi (Italy), and the Cultural Space of Jemaa el-Fna Square in Marrakesh (Morocco). The third Proclamation will take place in 2005.

Journalists wishing to attend the proclamation ceremony, which will be followed by a question-and-answer session, are asked to register with UNESCO’s Press Service. Telephone: +33 (0)1 45 68 17 48.


A B-roll of the newly proclaimed Masterpieces will be available from November 7. Contact: Carole Darmouni. Tel. +33 (0)1 45 68 17 38






Source Media advisory No 2003 - 90
Author(s) UNESCOPRESS



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