On 13 and 14 October 2021, UNESCO Tehran Cluster Office in cooperation with Turkmen National Commission for UNESCO organized the first-ever Memory of the World Capacity Building Workshop for Turkmen experts.
The virtual event was attended by 40 participants including directors and experts from the Ministry of Culture of Turkmenistan, Magtymguly National institute of language, literature and manuscripts of the Academy of Sciences of Turkmenistan, Ministry of Education, State Library as well as students majoring in documentation and archival studies, Protection and restoration of Cultural Heritage studies, Theatre and cinema studies and Tourism management studies.
Officer-in-Charge of UNESCO Tehran, Mr Cvetan Cvetkovski, opened the workshop by congratulating Dr Chinar Rustemova, the executive secretary of the Turkmen National Commission for UNESCO for being awarded the title of “Hero of Turkmenistan” as the highest degree of distinction in the country and the gold medal of “Altyn Aý”. He continued to express the background of UNESCO Memory of the World Program, the importance of preservation of and providing accesses to the documentary heritage as a guardian of our collective memory, and state that this program is a vision for peace embodied in maps, books and manuscripts, with the power to change the minds of men and women and to shape a different future for all.
This central vision in UNESCO’s Memory of the World Program is well aligned with the efforts of the government of Turkmenistan in promoting peace and mutual understanding among nations, which resulted in the proclamation of 2021 by the UN General Assembly as the International Year of Peace and Trust.
In her opening speech, Dr Chinar Rustemova, emphasized the urgent need for Turkmenistan to join the Memory of the Wolrd Program and to compensate and make up for the lost time since the creation of this program.
With documentary heritage we can trace the evolution of thought, discoveries and achievements of human society. It is, in essence about the legacy of the past for the current and future world community.
She continued to suggest organizing regular trainings in this field by UNESCO to strengthen the capacities of Turkmen experts.
The Head of the Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage of the Ministry of Culture of Turkmenistan, Ms Gozel Magtymgulyeva, enunciated that: “We are all responsible for the protection of the greatest examples of the documentary heritage of Turkmenistan” and went on to point out the importance of digital technologies in preservation of documentary heritage and at the same time the necessity of paying close attention to the security of access to digital resources, the integrity, as well as the preservation of all semantic and functional characteristics of the original copies of this heritage.
The next speaker, Director of the Magtymguly Institute of Language, Literature and National Manuscripts of the Academy of Sciences of Turkmenistan, Mr Davud Orazsahedov, delivered his speech in Persian and extensively talked about the activities of the Institute of Manuscripts for restoration and preservation of manuscripts. He also mentioned that along this way, partnerships with different countries were forged which resulted in collection and return of many manuscripts to Turkmenistan.
The practical sessions were facilitated by two experts over two days and participants strengthened their knowledge about UNESCO Memory of the World program, including different Registers and how to create a National Memory of the World Committee, where the Australian National committee was used as a case study.
To guide the participants on preparing nomination dossiers for Memory of the World Register, recommendations were made by facilitators on different points of nomination form.