Memory of the World

©Oman National Museum

UNESCO established the Memory of the World Programme in 1992. Impetus came originally from a growing awareness of the parlous state of preservation of, and access to, documentary heritage in various parts of the world.War and social upheaval, as well as severe lack of resources, have worsened problems which have existed for centuries. Significant collections worldwide have suffered a variety of fates. Looting and dispersal, illegal trading, destruction, inadequate housing and funding have all played a part. Much as vanished forever; much is endangered. Happily, missing documentary heritage is sometimes rediscovered. 

The vision of the Memory of the World Programme is that the world's documentary heritage belongs to all, should be fully preserved and protected for all and, with due recognition of cultural mores and practicalities, should be permanently accessible to all without hindrance, with the following objectives: 

  • To facilitate preservation, by the most appropriate techniques, of the world's documentary heritage.
  • To assist universal access to documentary heritage.
  • To increase awareness worldwide of the existence and significance of documentary heritage.

Memory of the World Committee for the Gulf States

©Oman National Commission to UNESCO

To support preservation of documentary heritage from the Gulf States and highlight the cultural treasures of the region, the Memory of the World Committee for the Gulf States was launched by delegations from the six countries with the support of UNESCO and renown international independent experts, following the organisation of a three-day workshop on “Strengthening the Memory of the World in the GCC” co-organized by UNESCO Doha and the Oman National Commission to UNESCO from 5-7 December 2016 in Muscat, Sultanate of Oman.

The workshop was the first of its kind to be organized in the region, following the adoption of the first-ever standard-setting instrument on the protection of the world’s documentary heritage, UNESCO’s Recommendation Concerning the Preservation of, and Access to, Documentary Heritage Including in Digital Form, unanimously adopted by UNESCO’s Member States at the 38th session of the General Conference in November 2015.

Members of the Committee are:

- Afaf bin Mohammed Al-Hilali [Oman National Commission to UNESCO] (Chair)

- Farah Al Sabah [National Council for Culture, Arts and Letters] (Vice Chair)

- Azza Al Kaabi [UAE National Archives]

- Layla Al Bader [Qatar Ministry of Culture and Sports]

- Bandar Al Malaq [Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage]

- Fidaa Al Zaydani [Bahrain National Museum]

UNESCO Cluster Office for the Gulf States and Yemen serves as the Executive Secretariat of the Committee. 

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