» Chinese opera star Zhang Jun named UNESCO Artist for Peace
23.05.2011 - UNESCOPRESS

Chinese opera star Zhang Jun named UNESCO Artist for Peace

UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova will designate acclaimed Chinese opera performer Zhang Jun as UNESCO Artist for Peace for a period of two years during a ceremony at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris on 26 May, at 6 p.m.

The designation comes in recognition of Mr Zhang’s “long-term commitment to promoting intangible cultural heritage, especially the Kunqu Opera”

Born in Shanghai, in 1974, Zhang is a leading promoter of Kunqu, one of the oldest forms of Chinese opera, inscribed in 2008 on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

While pursuing his stage career, Zhang Jun, has promoted programmes such as the Hope Project to build schools and improve education in China’s poorest areas. He has also supported numerous cultural initiatives in Shanghai.

As UNESCO Artist for Peace, Zhang Jun, will help raise national and international awareness of the importance of intangible cultural heritage and its safeguarding, including Kunqu Opera.

Kunqu was developed under the Ming dynasty (14th - 17th centuries) in the city of Kunshan in southeast China and is characterized by the combination of song, recital and complex choreographic techniques, which include acrobatic and symbolic gestures.

Credited with inspiring a revival of Chinese theatre in the Ming era, the genre almost disappeared from the stage in the 20th century.

UNESCO Artists for Peace are internationally-renowned personalities who use their influence, charisma and prestige to help promote UNESCO’s message and programmes. UNESCO works with these distinguished personalities to heighten public awareness regarding key development issues and inform the public of the Organization's actions in these fields.

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