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Urging Young People to Take Action for World Heritage Preservation

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unescoThe 1st World Heritage Youth Forum (WHYF) in Asia, held from 25 November to 3 December 2015 in Siem Reap, Cambodia, successfully concluded with serious and realistic suggestions by young people to promote participation in World Heritage preservation among their peers in the Asia-Pacific region as reported by the UNESCO.

The WHYF in Asia, organized by the UNESCO World Heritage Centre, the Cambodian National Commission for UNESCO and APSARA National Authority, brought together 38 young people between 20 and 30 years old, from 20 countries in the Asia-Pacific region.

The Forum focusing on the three main themes of monument management, community and tourism, created a great environment for lively discussions with experts. The participants also visited Angkor, a World Heritage site in Cambodia, and shared issues related to World Heritage sites in the region. The discussions also explored roles and challenges related to World Heritage preservation and promotion and the participation of youth. The highlight of the forum was presenting the Youth Declaration during the 25th Technical session for the International Coordinating Committee for the Safeguarding and Development of the Historic Site of Angkor (ICC-Angkor), on 2 December.

The forum participants expressed their concerns to the 300 attendees of the technical session, stating that World Heritage conservation is not a priority on the national level in some developing countries, and that there is a marked lack of interest and shared responsibility among young people in the Asia-Pacific region. Therefore, it is important to create active roles for young people in the efforts.

The young participants suggested that in order to boost participation among young people, they need to emphasize the importance of youth empowerment programs such as the formation of a World Heritage Youth Council at the regional, national and university levels to ensure successive hosting of an event like the World Heritage Youth Forum. They also suggested that State Parties support initiatives fostering social innovation for World Heritage, such as an annual World Heritage Day for Young People, and encouraged the private sector to participate in conservation and promotion of World Heritage sites through Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

Asking various stakeholders to reflect the voice of young people and provide mentorship, they concluded the declaration with the strong resolution: “to maintain the legacy that is our common heritage and to respect ancestral values not just within the Asia-Pacific region but for the world”.

The declaration will also be presented during the 40th session of the World Heritage Committee in Istanbul, Turkey from 10 to 20 July 2016 as reported by the UNESCO.

 

http://whc.unesco.org/en/news/1417

Anger As Nude Statues Are Covered In Rome

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RomeAnger as nude statues are covered up Rome has turned into an interesting blame game.

Ancient nude statues were covered with white boxes in Rome so as not to embarrass­ the President of Iran. This move was done for Hassan Rouhani, who is Muslim, as he toured the city’s Capitoline Museums on a state visit.

Hassan Rouhani is on a tour of Italy and France to drum up trade and diplomatic links after his country signed historic deal to limit its nuclear program.

However,  many Italians are not pleased with this decision.  “Whoever comes in our country, and this goes for an Iranian president as well, must accept our values and identity which must be defended not hidden,” said Barbara Saltamartini of the Northern League party.

Total Destruction of Oldest Christian Monastery in Iraq

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Oldest Christian monastery 1As reported earlier today by the Associated Press, the oldest Christian monastery in Iraq has been totally destroyed by the terrorist organization, ISIS and there is now only a field of rubble where a magnificent ancient cultural site once stood. For 1,400 years the Christian Monastery survived all assaults by nature and man, and was place of worship for Christians in Iraq. In earlier centuries, generations of monks tucked candles in the niches and prayed in the cool chapel. The Greek letters chi and rho, representing the first two letters of Christ’s name, were carved near the entrance as reported and evidenced by looking at photographs that are now the only reminder of that beautiful site.

Oldest Christian monastery 2The most recent satellite photos obtained exclusively by The Associated Press confirm the worst fears of church authorities and preservationists that St. Elijah’s Monastery of Mosul has been completely destroyed.

This is not the first time that the terrorist Islamic group, which has killed thousands of civilians and forced out hundreds of thousands of people from their homes and towns has also destroyed places of worship for not just Christians, but also Moslems. Along the way, its fighters have destroyed buildings and ruined historical and culturally significant structures they consider contrary to their interpretation of Islam.

Those who knew the monastery wondered about its fate after the extremists swept through in June 2014 and largely cut communications to the area. Now, St. Elijah’s has joined a growing list of more than 100 demolished religious and historic sites, including mosques, tombs, shrines and churches in Syria and Iraq. The extremists have defaced or ruined ancient monuments in Nineveh, Palmyra and Hatra. Museums and libraries have been looted, books burned, artwork crushed or trafficked and sold in the black market.

2016 Calendar of Holocaust Remembrance Events

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2016 Calendar of Holocaust Remembrance Events

“The Holocaust and Human Dignity”

banner-un-300x156The theme for the Holocaust remembrance and education activities in 2016, including the Holocaust Memorial Ceremony, is “The Holocaust and Human Dignity”. The theme links Holocaust remembrance with the founding principles of the United Nations and reaffirms faith in the dignity and worth of every person that is highlighted in the United Nations Charter, as well as the right to live free from discrimination and with equal protection under the law that is enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Holocaust, which resulted in the destruction of nearly two thirds of European Jewry, remains one of the most painful reminders of the international community’s failure to protect them.

For more, visit Unesco’s website at http://www.un.org/en/holocaustremembrance/2016/calendar2016.html

Destruction of Libya’s Cultural Heritage

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LibyaAs reported earlier this week by the Guardian newspaper, Greek and Roman antiquities and prehistoric artwork are under threat from Islamic State extremists in Libya. The leading world museums experts and the UN have warned that the Islamists terrorist ISIS, have made major inroads across Libya which is split between rival governments and plagued by weapons smuggling and people smuggling. These terrorists have also destroyed temples and ancient sites in Iraq and Syria, and experts believe they are also selling plundered antiquities on the illegal market as reported in the past.
The International Council of Museums has already released a list of cultural treasures in peril and appealed to Interpol, customs officers and art traders to watch out for looted Libyan goods. Among the threatened artwork are sculptures and mausoleum carvings in Cyrene, a one-time Greek colony, the Roman-era trading centre of Sabratha, and a desert region that is home to stone paintings or carvings dating back 12,000 years. It has been extremely difficult to keep track of Libya’s treasures because it has become so dangerous there since the 2011 fall of the late dictator Muammar Gaddafi. The UNESCO’s red list of threatened sites also includes sculptures, mausoleum busts and medieval artefacts, including coins decorated with a flower that is now extinct. The head of UNESCO, says the destruction and looting of archaeological sites in the Middle East should be considered a war crime.
It is also believed that these terrorists finance themselves (in addition to other means) by selling artifacts directly and by taxing criminal gangs that dig up archaeological sites in its territory.