The Director-General inaugurates the Festival of the Chinese Intangible Cultural Heritage at UNESCO Headquarters

The Director-General inaugurates the Festival of the Chinese Intangible Cultural Heritage at UNESCO Headquarters
  • © UNESCO/N. Burke

On Monday, 16 April 2007 the Director-General of UNESCO, Mr Koïchiro Matsuura, opened the Festival of Chinese Intangible Cultural Heritage, the first of its kind to be celebrated at UNESCO Headquarters.

Also present were the Vice-Minister of Culture of the People’s Republic of China, Mr Zhou Heping, Vice-Minister of Education and Chairman of UNESCO’s Executive Board, Mr Zhang Xinsheng, as well as the President of UNESCO’s General Conference, Mr Musa Bin Jaafar Bin Hassan.

In his inaugural address, the Director-General welcomed the collaborative efforts of the Chinese Academy of Arts, the National Centre for the Intangible Heritage of China and UNESCO’s Culture Sector for the Festival’s programme of live performances and the enlightening exhibit of photos and artifacts that accompany it. “This event bears witness to the commitment of the People’s Republic of China to work hand-in-hand with UNESCO to preserve a vulnerable component of humanity’s shared cultural heritage,” he stated.

Mr Matsuura recalled that “in 2004 China became the sixth country to ratify the UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, a landmark standard-setting instrument, which has so far attracted 75 States Parties.“ In this regard, the Director-General also noted that China has graciously offered to host the first extraordinary session of the Convention’s Intergovernmental Committee, which will take place in May this year.

Such a meeting, as explained by the Vice-Minister of Culture, Mr Zhou Heping, illustrates China’s strong dedication to the cause of preserving the world’s intangible cultural heritage. Mr Zhou Heping also detailed his government’s efforts to promote and educate its people about their country’s intangible heritage, which already count 10 Masterpieces, the largest number to date of such heritage recognized by UNESCO for any country.

After opening the Festival, the Director-General visited the exhibition and attended the live performance accompanied by Mr Zhou Heping and Mr Zhang Xinsheng. The Festival was composed of an exhibition of 337 photos and about 80 objects as well as artistic and musical performances displaying and enacting some of China’s rich intangible cultural heritage.

Prior to the Festival’s inauguration, Mr Matsuura held a bilateral meeting with Mr Zhou Heping in which they discussed the increasing cooperation between UNESCO and the People’s Republic of China in the domains of intangible cultural heritage, and explored ways to further strengthen this developing collaboration.

  • Author(s):Office of the Spokeswoman
  • Source:Flash Info N° 058-2007
  • 18-04-2007
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