The Ministry of Culture Youth and Sport and the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation’s (UNESCO’s) two-day stakeholders’ workshop to raise public awareness of intangible cultural heritage has been deemed very successful by Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport Dr. Frank Anthony.
The ministry with support from UNESCO’s Kingston office launched the workshop at the Umana Yana on February 12, as part of this year’s Mashramani activities with the objective of creating public awareness of Guyana ratifying the 2003 Convention for safeguarding of the country’s cultural heritage.
Minister Anthony, Director of Culture Dr. James Rose, UNESCO, Programme Specialist in Culture, Himalchuli Gurung and Media/Literary/Cultural Consultant and Facilitator of the Workshop Dr. Kris Rampersaud this afternoon briefed the press on the result of the initiative.
Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport Dr. Frank Anthony, Director of Culture Dr. James Rose, UNESCO, Programme Specialist in Culture, Himalchuli Gurung and Media/Literary/Cultural Consultant and Facilitator of the Workshop Dr. Kris Rampersaud. The workshop sought to raise public awareness of intangible cultural heritage
Minister Anthony said it was an important workshop that helped the participants to understand and better appreciate what the convention is about, and its role in protecting intangible heritage.
“Now we are better able to appreciate the value of the convention to a country like ours,” Minister Anthony said. “We thought that it was important to bring various stakeholders in, because by making people a little more aware of what is taking place in the world and what can be done locally, will help us to move this forward.”
Minister Anthony said that the dialogue that took place during the workshop would have caused Guyana to seriously consider ratifying the convention.
He also expressed gratitude for the UNESCO partnership and said that the ministry looks forward to other such joint ventures including one towards making Georgetown a Heritage site.
As a result of the workshop the participants committed and formed themselves into a National Stakeholder Awareness group towards promoting the convention across Guyana. A National Action Plan towards this objective was also reached.
Dr. Rose described the workshop as “two days of excellent interchange. The workshop helped us to better appreciate all the implications of the ratification. It helped us to become more conscious of the value, variety, diversity of Guyana’s intangible cultural heritage and the workshop gave us an opportunity to recommit ourselves to safeguarding that rich legacy which we hope to pass on to generations to come,” he said.
He said, the ministry was pleased with the participants’ commitment to working steadfastly towards seeing that Guyana ratifies the convention and doing everything possible locally and where necessary networking with regional and international bodies to ensure that Guyana’s intangible culture heritage is protected, promoted, studied and valued.
Dr. Rampersaud, in going through what took place in those two-days said that it was very commendable of the Guyana Government to first seek to bring public awareness of the convention before signing on.
“Often times we find in the region that countries go into things, ratify and then the public hears about it,” she said.
“Kudos for your country and Government that it needed to bring this before the public and lay out what are the terms and conditions of it, the implications,” Dr. Rampersaud added.
Gurung said that as of January 2013, the 2003 convention has been ratified by 149 countries around the world. “It is really gaining popularity because of its significance for the safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage,” she said.
Gurung said that UNESCO defines intangible heritage culture as living heritage and intangible culture is culture manifested through various forms including rituals, practices, and performing arts.