30.07.2019 - UNESCO Office in Nairobi

A South Sudan national expert joins the UNESCO facilitators’ network for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage

Mr Deng Nhial receiving his certificate of participation in the Intangible Cultural Heritage workshop ©UNESCO

UNESCO supported the State Party of South Sudan to train a national facilitator on the 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage together with 17 other experts from 15 countries in the African region who joined the network of facilitators during a regional workshop in Algeria from 9-13 July 2019.

South Sudan became a State Party to the UNESCO 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2016. Following their ratification of the Convention, UNESCO supported a national ‘training of trainers’ workshop in Juba in May 2018, which raised awareness of the 2003 Convention and equipped participants to lead community-based inventories of Intangible Cultural Heritage. In May 2019, UNESCO invited Mr. Deng Nhial, founder of Maale Heritage Foundation, and a participant in the May 2018 workshop in Juba, to participate in an international meeting on Intangible Cultural Heritage in Emergencies held at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris. The Paris meeting served as an important step towards producing a practical set of methodological guidelines, which underpinned the principles for action across a wide range of emergency contexts that undermine safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage.  As South Sudan boasts a rich cultural heritage with over 60 ethnic communities, and as the country has suffered from ongoing conflict, Mr Nhial benefitted from the meeting’s focus on the dual dimension of emergencies and living heritage - on one hand the threats on the viability of living heritage in such situations and on the other hand, the role of living heritage as a resource for preparedness, recovery, resilience and reconciliation.

In Algeria, Mr. Nhial, was trained by UNESCO’s Secretariat for the 2003 Convention in partnership with the Regional Centre for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Heritage in African (CRESPIAF) Category 2 Centre in Algiers. The training of trainers’ on intangible cultural heritage is one of the UNESCO’s global priorities for the capacity-building programme of the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage.

The training aimed to strengthen and expand the Africa chapter of the facilitators' network to ensure that its Member States are well prepared and sufficiently numerous to respond to the growing demand for capacity-building in the field of intangible cultural heritage in the region. It also ensured that new facilitators are well equipped with UNESCO training tools concerning the implementation of the 2003 Convention and empowered to play their role as facilitators effectively.

“This is a valuable opportunity for South Sudan,” said Mr. Nhial. “South Sudan should not be known for the bad news of conflict happening in the Country but for this good news that South Sudan can export expertise in the field of Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage,” he added.

“In the spirit of the Convention, putting in place safeguarding plans and measures is crucial to revitalizing the safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage in South Sudan,” said Mr. Thomas Morita, Programme Officer for Culture in UNESCO Juba Office.





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