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DIRECTOR-GENERAL OF UNESCO

An exhibition on the Safeguarding of the Minaret of Jam in Afghanistan

An exhibition on the Safeguarding of the Minaret of Jam in Afghanistan
  • © UNESCO/N. Burke

An exhibition devoted to the Safeguarding of the Minaret of Jam in Afghanistan has been organized at UNESCO Headquarters on the occasion of the 176th session of its Executive Board. The Minaret of Jam became the first site in Afghanistan to be included on the UNESCO World Heritage List and simultaneously on the List of World Heritage in Danger in 2002.

In the presence of Mr Aziz and Mr Moscato, respectively Ambassadors of Afghanistan and Italy to the Organization, the Director-General inaugurated this exhibit on 10 April 2007. Mr Matsuura expressed his satisfaction for this opportunity to present, through a large number of photos, the tireless efforts of UNESCO in close cooperation with the Afghan Government, thanks to the generous contributions from Italy and Switzerland. This exhibition illustrates all the work undertaken since 2001 on “one of Afghanistan's most cherished monuments, and a site that has played a pivotal role in the development of Islamic arts and architecture,” he declared.

The Director-General also paid tribute to Professor Andrea Bruno, who put his expertise at the service of this endeavour, made particularly necessary by the damage caused by several decades of war, as well as by the natural disasters which put the building at serious risk.

Mr Matsuura underlined that beyond the preservation of individual elements of humanity’s common heritage, the activities conducted by UNESCO in terms of safeguarding and protecting cultural heritage “can play a significant role in the economic and social development of a country in a post-conflict situation”. “For many years now, the Organization has been coordinating complex operations to safeguard heritage damaged or threatened by conflicts. The experience gained through these initiatives clearly demonstrates that the safeguarding of cultural heritage involves more than merely restoring ancient architectural treasures. Such activities can make a decisive contribution to sustainable development, social cohesion and regional and national reconciliation.”

The Director-General also welcomed the return last March to the entirely renovated National Museum in Kabul of some 1,400 Afghan ethnographic and archaeological objects preserved since 1999 at the Museum of Afghanistan in Exile in Bubendorf, Switzerland.

“It is my sincere hope that this exhibition – which is scheduled to travel to Turin, Italy, and then to Kabul – will help enhance international awareness of the extraordinary value of Afghanistan's cultural heritage,“ he concluded.

  • Author(s):Office of the Spokeswoman
  • Source:Flash Info N° 054-2007
  • 12-04-2007
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