31.07.2012 - UNESCO Office in Moscow

The Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) hosted the Second "Meeting of the UNESCO Masterpieces on the Land of Olonkho" festival

Within the framework of the 5th “Children of Asia” International Sports Games’ cultural program under the auspices of UNESCO, Yakutsk city hosted the second festival «Meeting of the UNESCO Masterpieces on the Land of Olonkho» which was carried out from 10 to 16 July, 2012. The festival was initiated by the Ministry of Culture and Spiritual Development of the Republic Sakha (Yakutia) and Nord-Est Federal University named after M.K.Ammosov. The initiative was supported by the Commission of Russian Federation for UNESCO and the UNESCO Moscow office for Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, the Republic of Moldova, and the Russian Federation.

The Festival has continued the first International festival «Meeting of the UNESCO Masterpieces on the Land of Olonkho» which was organized by the UNESCO Moscow office in July 2008, in Yakutsk. For the first time in the modern history of Russian culture in the far northern city brought together young athletes and cultural programme participants from various regions of Russia and from abroad and they had a chance to show deepest, ancient and highly revered in their country living treasures of traditional culture, recognized by UNESCO as Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.

The main purpose of the project was the safeguarding and promotion of the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity, enlarge knowledge of theses Masterpieces proclaimed by UNESCO among young generation, and promote the participation of youth and children in the safeguarding of the intangible cultural heritage and cultural diversity, enhancing intercultural dialogue for social cohesion and understanding. The genuine bearers of the world masterpieces from Bangladesh, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Indonesia, Italy, China, Korea, Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia, Mongolia, the Russian Federation, the Philippines and Japan presented their intangible cultural heritage masterpieces during the festival.
The festival was organized after proclamation of Yakut heroic epos Olonkho on November 25th 2005, as one of the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. This event was a huge public outcry in Yakutia and beyond and gave a powerful impetus to the development of regional science and culture, the development of the future action plan in the field of traditional culture and folklore.

It should be noted that the proclamation of Yakut heroic epos "Olonkho" as masterpiece of the oral and intangible heritage of humanity represents an exceptional value for national and world culture. It is one of the most archaic, mythological epic works of folk art. Its origins go deep into the millennium.

Earlier, in 2001, Cultural traditions of the Semeiskie Old Believers of Transbaikalia were the first to be recognized by UNESCO as a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity in Russia. So a demand arose for attracting attention of the Russians to the most important part of the Russian cultural heritage in the context of the world cultural traditions, increasing the status of traditional culture in the modern society and establishing a cultural dialogue between different peoples and regions of the world.

The organization of such activities farther the development of sustainable cultural dialogue. Such activities contribute to the promotion of mutual understanding in society and the development of professional, creative and, perhaps most importantly, friendships and long-term partnership. The festival became a source of expanding the horizons for each participant of the event in his perception of cultural diversity.

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