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The International Jury for proclamation by UNESCO of Masterpieces of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity is composed of 18 members. Nominated every four years by the Director-General of UNESCO, they meet every two years in order to designate the cultural spaces of forms of cultural expression which deserve to be proclaimed “masterpieces of the oral and intangible heritage of humanity”. After the Jury’s deliberations, the  masterpieces are proclaimed by the Director-General of UNESCO at a public ceremony. The Jury is currently chaired by the Spanish writer Juan Goytisolo, one of the pioneers of the Proclamation project.


Professor at the University of the United Arab Emirates, Director of Zayed Centre for Heritage and History

Following studies in Arab history and culture in his own country and at the University of Exeter (UK), Hasan Al-Naboodah has held several positions within the University of the United Arab Emirates, and in the Council of Research and the Ministry of Education where he was responsible for the development of programmes in the Humanities. A specialist of medieval Islamic history, he is currently Director of the Zayed Centre for Heritage and History.


University Professor, Ambassador for Morocco to UNESCO

Born in Rabat, Aziza Bennani is the author of a doctoral thesis on the fictional world of Carlos Fuentes. She has also written several works in Arabic, French and Spanish on Hispano-Moroccan and Hispano-American literature and civilization, as well as on issues of tolerance and women’s rights. She successively held the positions of Dean of the Faculty of Literature and Humanities at the Hassan II University of Mohammedia, High Commissioner for the Disabled and Secretary of State for Culture. She is currently Ambassador of Morocco to UNESCO.


Princess of Jordan

Princess Basma was born in Amman, and studied languages and development studies at Oxford University (UK). Over the last twenty years she has worked on the role of women and the rights of children in the context of development. She founded the Queen Alia Fund for Social Development, at the request of her brother, King Hussein, in 1977 and the Jordanian National Commission for Women in 1992. She subsequently played an important role in the 1995 United Nations Conference on Women in Beijing. She was special advisor on sustainable development to United Nations Secretary-General, Boutros Boutros-Ghali from 1995 to 1997. She has also worked for UNDP, WHO and UNESCO.


Cultural Anthropologist

Georges Condominas is a French cultural anthropologist and a specialist of oral culture. After completing his Ph.D., he was elected to a Chair of ethnology and sociology of South-East Asia  at the Ecole pratique des Hautes Etudes (EPHE, France), VIth section, and was a visiting professor at Yale and Columbia (USA). He has been a professor at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales for many years. He is the author of the renowned book, We have Eaten the Forest. The story of a Montagnard Village in the Central Highlands of Vietnam. He has also been Vice-president of the Union of Anthropologists.


Folklorist, Choir Director, Professor at the State Institute of Culture of Georgia

Anzor Erkomaichvili comes from a family of traditional Georgian musicians. After studying at the State Conservatory of Tbilissi (Georgia), he founded and still directs several groups of Georgian polyphonic singing, including the Rustavi choir, with which he has toured over 50 countries, and the youth choir Martvé. He has collected a vast number of recordings of traditional songs throughout the regions of Georgia. He has written several books on the subject, and was the initiator of the restoration of the Archives of Georgian Polyphonic Songs.



Born in Mexico, Carlos Fuentes grew up in the United States, Chile and Argentina. After studying Law at the Autonomous University of Mexico, he started writing and became professor of English-language and Hispanic literature in several universities in Europe and the United States. In 1958, he published Where the Air is Clear, a huge fresco relating the life of Mexico City in the 1940s and 1950s. In The Death of Artemio Cruz, published in 1962, he tells the history of Mexico’s independence. Carlos Fuentes was Ambassador of Mexico to France from 1974 to 1977 and received the Miguel de Cervantes Prize in 1987.



After studies in Barcelona and Madrid, Juan Goytisolo left Spain, under Franco’s dictatorship, at the end of the 1950s to live in Paris and Marrakech. He is the author of numerous novels, many of them autobiographical, among them Forbidden Territory, and Realm of Strife, some of them influenced by Moroccan storytellers, like The Garden of Secrets. With a passion for traditional Moroccan culture, and as a fervent defender of the cultural heritage of Marrakech, he was one of the pioneers of the “Proclamation of Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage” project.


Director General of the National Science Museum of Japan

After completing his studies at Kyoto University, Hideki Hayashida worked for many years at the Japanese Ministry for Education, Science, Sports and Culture. There he held several positions within the Elementary and Secondary Education Bureau. He was subsequently appointed Director General of the Cultural Properties Protection Department, and then Commissioner for Cultural Affairs. Since July 2000, he has been Director General of the National Science Museum of Japan.


Writer, Ambassador of Lithuania to UNESCO

Ugné Karvelis, who had to leave Lithuania in 1944, studied in Germany, France and the United States. She worked for twenty years with the publishing house Editions Gallimard in Paris and has helped many writers to be published in France, including Alejo Carpentier, Julio Cortazar, Carlos Fuentes, Pablo Neruda, Octavio Paz and Mario Vargas Losa, as well as Milan Kundera and Vassilis Vassilikos. A literary critic (notably in the Figaro littéraire), translator and novelist, she has recently devoted herself to promoting Lithuanian culture. She is the Lithuanian Ambassador to UNESCO and has been a member of the Executive Board of UNESCO since 1997.

Alpha Oumar KONARÉ

President of Mali

Born in 1946, Alpha Oumar Konaré studied history in Mali and Poland. He was Director of the Division of Historical and Ethnographic Heritage within the Ministry of Culture, and later Minister for Youth, Culture and Sports from 1978 to 1980. In 1990, he founded the Alliance for Democracy in Mali. Following the fall of Moussa Traoré and the setting-up of a new constitution, Alpha Oumar Konaré was elected President of Mali in 1992 for a five-year term, and re-elected in 1997. He is currently also acting President of the Economic Community of the Western African States (ECOWAS).

Richard KURIN

Director of the Center for Folklore and Cultural Heritage of the Smithsonian Institution (USA)

Richard Kurin has headed the Center for Folklore and Cultural Heritage of the Smithsonian Institution since 1990. He organizes the Smithsonian Festival for Folklore which is held every summer in Washington D.C. He also runs the Institution’s collection of traditional music and several other cultural programmes. He holds a Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Chicago, has lectured at Johns Hopkins University, and currently teaches at George Washington University. He has published several books, particularly on traditional culture in India and Pakistan.


Pianist, ethnomusicologist, Director of the Jamaica Orchestra for Youth

Olive Lewin was born in Jamaica and studied music and ethnomusicology in the United Kingdom. She is a Fellow of Trinity College, and an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music and the Royal School of Music. She has also held the positions of Director of Arts and Culture at the office of the Prime Minister of Jamaica and of Director of the Jamaica Institute of Folk Culture. In 1983, she founded the Jamaica Orchestra for Youth, which she continues to direct today.

Ronald Muwenda MUTEBI II

The Kabaka of Buganda

The Kabaka Ronald Muwenda Mutebi was born in Uganda and studied law in England. He was forced into exile from his country from 1966 to 1986, during which time he supported the opponents of the authoritarian regime of Uganda, and worked with newspapers such as the African Concord. After his return to Uganda and the proclamation of a new constitution, he was crowned 37th Kabaka of Buganda in 1993. He is the creator of the Kabaka Foundation, which is devoted to poverty relief, providing access to health care for the disadvantaged, formal and informal education, and to the protection of biodiversity.

J. H. Kwabena NKETIA

President of the Africa Section of the International Council of Music

Born in Ghana, J.H. Kwabena Nketia studied linguistics and music in England and the United States, notably at the Julliard School of Music. He has held professorial posts at several European and American universities, including UCLA and the University of Pittsburgh, as well as at the University of Ghana to which he returned in 1992 as Emeritus Professor and Director of the International Centre for African Music and Dance. Prof. Nketia is a member of the International Council of Music and of the International Commission for a New Edition of the History of the Scientific and Cultural Development of Humanity.


Anthropologist, Director of the Vanuatu Cultural Centre

After studying development, anthropology and archaeology in Australia, Ralph Regenvanu was appointed curator at the National Museum of Vanuatu before becoming Director of the Vanuatu Cultural Centre. He is Secretary of the Executive Council of the Pacific Islands Museum Association (PIMA). He has represented his country at several international conferences which he attended as a member of the indigenous community of Vanuatu. Since 1998, he has worked with UNESCO as a delegate of the Pacific and as a member of the Vanuatu National Commission for UNESCO.

Dawnhee YIM

Professor of History, Dean of the Department of Women’s studies at the University of Dongguk (Korea)

Dawnhee Yim has published several works on folklore, cultural anthropology and the position of women in Korean society. After obtaining a Ph.D. in Folklore from the University of Pennsylvania, she taught anthropology in the United States and Korea. She has presided over the Korean Society for Cultural Anthropology and is a member of several other associations for anthropological studies. She is currently Dean of the Department of Women’s Studies at the University of Dongguk.

Zulmar YUGAR

Singer, Honorary President of the Bolivian National Council of Popular and Traditional Culture

A true ambassador for traditional Bolivian singing, Zulma Yugar has received many national and international prizes, and has produced a very rich discography. She has also been Director for the Promotion of Culture at the Ministry of Culture, President of the Bolivian Association of Artists and Musicians and president of a society for composers’ rights. She also heads the Zulmar Yugar Foundation for Traditional Culture.


Singer of traditional Uzbek music

Munojat Yulchieva holds a diploma in traditional Uzbek singing from the State Conservatory of Tashkent. A well-known and highly respected artist, she has participated in numerous traditional music festivals throughout Europe as well as  Morocco, Brazil and the United States. Munojat Yulchieva has received several distinguished awards, and has recorded many albums, notably in France and in Germany.