Goodwill Ambassadors to sponsor Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible HeritageParis, February 26 – UNESCO Goodwill Ambassadors – leading personalities who place their talent and international renown at the service of the Organization’s ideals – decided to sponsor some of the 47 Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity during their annual meeting in Paris today.
The goal of the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity programme is to raise public awareness of the value of this heritage and encourage governments to take legal and administrative steps for its safeguarding.
The Director-General of UNESCO, Koïchiro Matsuura, explained that, “the support of these personalities may take very diverse forms. Thus, they may take part in events to raise public awareness to the need to safeguard these masterpieces or lend their image to campaigns in favour of these masterpieces.”
Their action is expected to raise funds to finance safeguarding projects for the masterpieces and help incite governments to ratify the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, adopted by UNESCO’s General Conference in October 2003.
Ambassadors who have already chosen Masterpieces they wish to sponsor include: French astronaut Patrick Baudry who will promote Woodcrafting Knowledge of the Zafimaniry (Madagascar); Malian scientist Cheick Modibo Diarra the Cultural Space of Sosso-Bala in Nyagassola (Guinea); Vigdís Finnbogadóttir, the former President of Iceland, the Kihnu Cultural Space (Estonia); Princess Firyal of Jordan, both the Songs of Sanaa (Yemen) and the Iraqi Maqam music (Iraq); Spanish navigator and scientist Kitín Muñoz, the Cultural Space of Jemaa el-Fna Square, (Morocco); Italian architect Renzo Piano, the Vanuatu Sand Drawings (Vanuatu) and Italian actress Claudia Cardinale, the Sicilian puppet theatre Opera dei Pupi; and the Greek patron of the arts Marianna V. Vardinoyannis, Azerbaijani Mugham music (Azerbaijan). For his part Goodwill Ambassador Sheikh Ghassan I. Shaker will contribute to actions in favour of the Cultural Space of the Boysun District (Uzbekistan) and the Al-Sirah al-Hilaliyya Epic (Egypt). To this end, he gave the Director-General a contribution of US$100,000.
The sponsorship programme will be expanded as new ambassadors join in and as new Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage are proclaimed.