05.05.2014 - UNESCO Office in Venice

Enhancing regional cooperation on intangible cultural heritage in South-East Europe

© Agros Community - ICH inventory, Cyprus

The Eighth Annual Meeting of the South East European Experts Network on Intangible Cultural Heritage will take place in Limassol, Cyprus, on 15-16 May 2014, organised by Cyprus (Ministry of Education and Culture; National Commission for UNESCO) in cooperation with the UNESCO Regional Bureau for Culture and Science in Europe (Venice, Italy).

It is the latest in a series of meetings (Arbanassi, Bulgaria, June 2007; Safranbolu, Turkey, May 2008; Zagreb, Croatia, April 2009, Râmnicu-Vâlcea, Romania, May 2010; Belgrade, Serbia, May 2011; Athens, Greece, May 2012; Sofia, Bulgaria, May 2013) set up as a platform to reinforce cooperation among the countries of the region on the safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage, and to share experiences on issues including: inventory policies, training and capacity-building, the role and involvement of the local communities, the transnational dimension of intangible cultural heritage, the management of sustainable cultural tourism, etc.

As discussed during last year’s meeting in Sofia, the main thematic topic for this session will be “Intangible cultural heritage: youth, transmission and education”. Titled “Intangible cultural heritage and education: experiences, good practices, lessons learned”, the meeting will focus on 3 main areas of discussion:

  • The progress made by specific countries in implementing the 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage;
  • The integration of intangible cultural heritage within formal and informal education programmes/systems;
  • Regional cooperation on training and capacity-building, within the framework of UNESCO’s global capacity-building strategy.

The emphasis on education shall especially concern the mutually beneficial relationship between the safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage, education, and capacity-building within local communities. The integration of intangible cultural heritage into educational curricula and programmes can improve both formal and non-formal education by promoting inter alia intercultural dialogue and cultural exchange, broadening access and cultural relevance, stimulating creativity, increasing intergenerational engagement in the community, etc.

The meeting will be attended by experts in representation of the ministries of culture of Albania; Bosnia and Herzegovina; Bulgaria, Croatia; Cyprus; Greece; Montenegro; Republic of Moldova; Romania; Serbia; Slovenia; The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and Turkey, as well as by international experts and representatives from neighbouring countries.

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All countries from the South-East European region have ratified the Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage (2003), which came into force on 20 June 2006 and has been ratified at an unprecedented pace, with the number of State Parties currently standing at 158. Its enforcement remains a political priority in the region, and indeed for the international community as a whole.

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