United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

Director-General inaugurates a celebration of Malaysia’s Heritage

On 7 April, UNESCO Director-General, Mr Koïchiro Matsuura joined Datuk Mohammed Shafie Apdal, Minister for Unity, Culture, Arts and Heritage, Dato’ Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein, Minister for Education and Chairman of Malaysia’s National Commission for UNESCO, Dato’ S. Thanarajasingam, Ambassador of Malaysia to France and Kenneth J Luis, Permanent Delegate of Malaysia to UNESCO, to inaugurate Authentic Malaysia, an exhibition celebrating the country’s cultural and natural heritage.

The ceremony was followed by a performance of Malaysian music, song and dance.

The Director-General congratulated both Ministers on their recent appointments and wished them success in fulfilling their important objectives. Recalling his second official visit to Malaysia on the occasion of the 43rd SEAMEO Council Conference in Kuala Lumpur in March 2008*, Mr Matsuura said that he had been pleased to sign the renewed Memorandum of Understanding between UNESCO and SEAMEO and that he was “confident that this will help us to further expand cooperation in education, science and culture across South East Asia.”

Mr Matsuura observed that the exhibition “demonstrates the Government of Malaysia’s efforts to recognize and preserve the wide range of tangible and intangible expressions making up the great mosaic of Malaysian culture” and said that he was “delighted to host such events because they underscore our belief that culture can play a key role in promoting sustainable development and mutual understanding.”

Noting that two of its tropical preserves, Gunung Mulu National Park and Kinabalu Park, had been inscribed on UNESCO’s prestigious World Heritage List and that Mak Yong, an ancient ritual related to healing practices, had been proclaimed a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO in 2005, the Director-General strongly encouraged Malaysia’s continuing efforts “collaborate closely with local communities and with the international community to ensure that this precious heritage can be enjoyed by generations to come.”

Datuk Mohammed Shafie Apdal, Malaysia’s Minister for Unity, Culture, Arts and Heritage, expressed his pride in his country’s multi-faceted heritage. Emphasizing the importance of international cooperation and understanding based on tolerance as keys to the long term preservation of heritage and development, he congratulated UNESCO for its leadership in promoting this message internationally.

Related links 

Author(s): Office of the Spokeswoman - Source: Flash Info N° 046-2008 -  Publication Date: 08-04-2008

© UNESCO 1995-2010 - ID: 42199