Director-General inaugurates an exhibition on Intangible Cultural Heritage at UNESCO Headquarters

Director-General inaugurates an exhibition on Intangible Cultural Heritage at UNESCO Headquarters
  • © UNESCO/N. Burke

On Thursday, 12 April 2007, the Director-General of UNESCO, Mr Koïchiro Matsuura, inaugurated the photo exhibition entitled ‘Living Heritage: exploring the intangible.

The first of its kind organized on this subject, the exhibition comprises around one hundred photos illustrating the wealth and the diversity of humanity’s Intangible Cultural Heritage. They will be displayed on the fence surrounding UNESCO Headquarters from 12 April to 30 November 2007.

During his address, Mr Matsuura thanked the Japanese authorities and Mr Seiichi Kondo, Ambassador and Permanent Delegate of Japan to UNESCO, for their constant support and for making the exhibition possible. “By unrolling this exhibition around our walls, we want to attract the interest and the curiosity of everyone about the universality of the forms, the richness of the functions and the values attached to the cultural practices, their singularity, but also their fragility,” he stated.

The Director-General emphasized that at the start of his mandate at UNESCO it was his priority to draw the international community’s attention to the need to protect the living heritage. He highlighted the establishment of the Programme on the Proclamation of Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity, and the adoption in 2003 of the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, which entered into force on 20 April 2006.

Mr Matsuura noted that under the Programme of the Proclamation, in which over 107 countries took part, and under the Convention, now ratified by 75 States, concrete activities not only for safeguarding but also for promoting public awareness are carried out everywhere in the world, notably through the indispensable participation of the communities concerned. “Our objective, which aimed at posing the basis of an integrated design for the World Cultural Heritage, in its tangible as well as intangible dimensions, has been met beyond all expectations. These photographs are today’s proof of this success,” he added.

Mr Kondo recalled the dangers that threaten the world’s intangible cultural heritage and noted the efforts carried out by the Japanese government as an active pioneer in the mission to establish the notion of Intangible Heritage and safeguard its conservation throughout the world.

In conclusion, the Director-General affirmed that “this exhibition is not made to set a mark in time or in history. It is a tribute to the living creativity and recognition of the plurality of our practices, knowledge and languages. May these vivid photographs register in our memories the unique and always different traces of what makes our creative diversity.”

  • Author(s):Office of the Spokeswoman
  • Source:Flash Info N° 055-2007
  • 13-04-2007
Europe and North America Latin America and the Caribbean Africa Arab States Asia Pacific