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Third Workshop on UNESCO at IRNA

Third Workshop on UNESCO at IRNA
  • Ms. Junko Taniguchi (Programme Specialist for Culture of UNESCO Tehran) and Dr Farzin Fardanesh (UNESCO Tehran‘s senior consultant for Culture) during the presentation on UNESCO’s works in Iran the field of Culture, held at IRNA, 20 January 2011.

The third of a series of workshops organized to introduce UNESCO through IRNA

The third of a series of workshops organized to introduce UNESCO’s programmes and activities to Iranian media professionals, took place in Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) on Thursday, 20 January 2011. UNESCO Tehran Cluster Office’s chief for cultural programmes, Ms Junko Taniguchi, and UNESCO senior consultant Dr Farzin Fardanesh, jointly discussed with 28 IRNA director-generals, managers, editors, journalists, experts, and translators, the aims and challenges of UNESCO’s cultural programmes. 19 IRNA participants were women.

This interactive session focusing on culture enabled discussions concerning the principle messages UNESCO advocates through its programmes. The participants examined and discussed how UNESCO attempts to extend international protection to endangered and/or representative heritage. Iran has ratified to five of the seven UNESCO cultural conventions. To date, Iran has 12 cultural heritage properties inscribed on UNESCO’s List of World Heritage. However, as UNESCO’s World Heritage Global Strategy and Asia-Pacific Periodic Reporting Exercise of 2002~2003 have both recognized, Iran’s rich and diverse cultural and natural heritage is not yet adequately recognized and represented on the List of World Heritage. Iran has listed 57 properties as potential future World Heritage properties on a “Tentative List” which the country hopes to nominate as World Heritage. Iran has successfully nominated seven intangible cultural heritage elements, now registered on UNESCO’s Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

Programmes to empower the culture profession to develop and implement standards, pilot activities to mobilize grassroot support for indigenous, sustainable management of cultural resources, and demonstrative cases for shifting the tourism paradigm in favour of culture and nature conservation were presented and explored. Real cases from Iran, such as Bam and its Cultural Landscape were presented where the first comprehensive management plan was elaborated through a participatory process between stakeholders.

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Issues related to cultural conflict and what challenges lie before UNESCO and the international community at large were touched upon. The need for deep understanding of cultural diversity and sensitively approaching of cultural differences were highlighted through concrete cases where culture has been the subject of conflict and destruction.

UNESCO’s initiatives to stimulate creative enterprises and cultural industries, notably in the poorest communities, were introduced. A record 116 traditional arts and handicraft products have received the UNESCO Awards of Excellence for Handicrafts, making Iran the country with the largest number of Awarded products in UNESCO’s handicraft programme, attained within only three UNESCO jury sessions. New challenges remain however with Iranian handicrafts, to competitively expand international market share through design enhancement, quality control, balanced pricing, and marketing.

The session concluded by reaffirming that culture and cultural diversity must be considered as a vector for development communities, embedded fully within the comprehensive development process. Systematic analysis and informed decision-making, based upon stakeholder participation and shared responsibilities for planning and implementation, have proven to be the most effective means to enable sustainable, positive cultural impacts to society.

IRNA and UNESCO Tehran Cluster Office confirmed the need for further sessions concerning culture for more in-depth debates concerning cultural diversity and cultural dialogue in the 21st century.

The series of presentation highlighting UNESCO’s works in Iran started on 13 January, and the next sessions will be held on Thursday, 27 January for Natural Sciences programmes and Education programmes.

Contact: Ms. Junko Taniguchi, j.taniguchi@unesco.org

  • Source:UNESCO Tehran
  • 24-01-2011
  • © UNESCO/IRNA - Some of the participants of UNESCO’s presentation on Culture programmes at IRNA, during the group photo right after the session.
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