United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

The Director-General inaugurates a photographic exhibition of the cultural heritage of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

On 31 March 2008, Mr Koďchiro Matsuura, Director-General of UNESCO, together with Mr Faysal bin Abdulrahman bin Moamar, Director of the King Abdulaziz Public Library and Mr Ziad Aldrees, the Permanent Delegate of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to UNESCO inaugurated an exhibition of photographs of the country’s cultural heritage.

The striking black and white photographs by Humberto da Silveira are part of the collection of King Abdulaziz Public Library. The exhibition, at UNESCO’s Paris Headquarters, was organized by the Permanent Delegation of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to UNESCO and the King Abdulaziz Public Library on the occasion of a day of dialogue on the theme, ‘Translation…a way of meeting’

In his remarks, Mr Matsuura observed that ‘these meetings and exhibitions are testimonies to the importance that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia attaches to its rich cultural heritage, a fact I came to appreciate at first hand when I visited the country in January 2000 on my first official visit as Director-General of UNESCO to a Member State.”

The exhibition includes photographs of the Nabataean site of Mada’in Saleh, whose nomination for inscription on the World Heritage List will be examined by the World Heritage Committee at its forthcoming session, in July 2008, in Quebec, Canada. If the Committee decides to inscribe this site, it will become Saudi Arabia’s first World Heritage site.

Observing that Saudi Arabia’s attention to its cultural heritage is not limited to tangible heritage, the Director-General expressed his great pleasure that on 10 January 2008 the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia had become a State Party to the 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, one of the legal instruments on which UNESCO’s action to promote cultural diversity and creativity is based.

Mr Matsuura strongly encouraged Saudi Arabia’s continuing efforts to promote and protect its heritage nationally and internationally, recalling that in December 2007 the “Kingdom’s pride in Arab culture was made manifest through a generous contribution to improve the presence of the Arabic language in UNESCO.” Such affirmations of cultural identity made an important contribution to UNESCO’s work to safeguard cultural diversity and the Director-General expressed his gratitude to the Kingdom for its continuing support for the Organization’s activities.

Author(s): Office of the Spokeswoman - Source: Flash Info N° 042-2008 -  Publication Date: 02-04-2008

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