» #Unite4Heritage campaign launched by UNESCO Director-General in Baghdad
28.03.2015 - UNESCOPRESS

#Unite4Heritage campaign launched by UNESCO Director-General in Baghdad

“We must respond,” declared the Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, at the launch of the #Unite4Heritage campaign at the Faculty of Arts of the University of Baghdad in Iraq, on 28 March 2015.

“When violent extremists say humanity is not a single community that shares values, when they say world heritage doesn’t exist, when they say pre-Islamic heritage is idolatry, when they say that diversity is dangerous, that tolerance and dialogue are unacceptable -- we must respond,” she declared. 

“We must respond by showing that exchange and dialogue between cultures are driving force of all history. We must show that diversity has always been and remains today a strength for all societies,” continued the Director-General.

 “This is why I have come here today, to respond with you by launching the #Unite4Heritage campaign. Together, we will put forward a new humanist narrative of shared values, of humanity as a single family, holding a past and a future in common,” declared Irina Bokova. “Unity will be our strength.”

The launch took place in the presence of the Minister of Tourism and Antiquities of Iraq, His Excellency Adel Fahad Shershab, the Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research of Iraq, His Excellency Hussain Al-Sharhistani, the President of the University of Baghdad, Dr Alaa’ Abdulhussein Abdulrasul and hundreds of students.

"We have another battle, a cultural battle, to put the protection of our cultural heritage at the forefront and show that it is alive", said His Excellency Adel Fahad Shershab. "Do not give in and do not give up!" added His Excellency Hussain Al-Sharhistani, calling on all the students present in the audience to stand up and take responsibility for the safeguarding of Iraq's unique cultural heritage.

The purpose of the #Unite4Heritage campaign is to build support for the protection of heritage where it is threatened by sectarianism and extreme violence.

#Unite4Heritage will use the power of social networks to create a global movement with young people for them to raise their voice and take action for the safeguarding heritage under threat, in Iraq and elsewhere, providing a counter-narrative to sectarian propaganda.

This campaign builds on the Day of Standing in Solidarity led by the University of Baghdad on 5 March and the launch of a campaign by students on “Our Heritage - Our Responsibility”.  We, young people of Iraq, have an obligation to protect our heritage", declared a student representative, explaining the motivation that has led her and fellow students to take the initiative of the "Our Heritage - Our Responsibility" campaign. We are grateful to UNESCO for now giving us the opportunity to bring this message to the world", she added.

“Today, we send a clear and resounding message – we do not accept cultural cleansing and we stand together to do everything we can to stop it,” declared Irina Bokova. “We launch this campaign here in Baghdad, and we will take it across the region and world, strengthened by the values and conviction we share.”




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