To prepare Guyana for the ratifying of the 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, a two-day national stakeholders’ awareness workshop was on Tuesday launched at the Umana Yana.
Participants at the stakeholders’ workshop at the Umana Yana
The workshop is being coordinated by the Culture Ministry in collaboration with the UNESCO Kingston cluster office for the Caribbean and the national commission for UNESCO Guyana.
UNESCO consultant and workshop facilitator Dr Kris Rampersad, who delivered the feature address, disclosed that over the two days, the workshop will examine the seven UNESCO conventions, their inter-relationship among each other and what they hold in store for Guyana to be part of the international community engaged with the conventions.
Dr Rampersad said it is important the Caribbean makes representation at the conventions since it has a lot to offer the world. She reiterated that the Caribbean is in the core of global modern cultural development, noting that it can lead the world in directions of culture.
“When it comes to culture in the global space, the Caribbean is second to none… it is one arena I think very strongly we can share and actively contribute… we can share our best practices, our own experiences of diversity with so many cultures and groups that we have.”
Rampersad said one of the Caribbean’s major strengths is its mixture of persons from five different continents from around the world.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Samuel Hinds who declared the workshop opened stated that the government of Guyana recognises that culture is important to the world. He said the world is rapidly coming together as one, but there is the realisation that as it does, some cultures may be dropped as the world merges, thus this may be fueling some sensitivity.
“I support the sensitisation because I think we need to know the history of cultures that may have been created over thousands of years in different corners of the world… I think it is a good thing to make us more aware of them.”
Caricom Human and Social Development Officer Myrna Bernard highlighted that a number of Caricom member states have actively engaged in the process that led to the adoption of several UNESCO conventions related to heritage.
However, she said despite the significant rich cultural heritage, tangible and intangible, some member states are yet to ratify some of these agreements.
The 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage entered into force in 2006, and to date has been adopted by 149 member states as of January 2013.
The convention has four primary goals: To safeguard intangible cultural heritage; to ensure respect for the intangible cultural heritage of the communities, groups and individuals concerned; to raise awareness and appreciation of the importance of the intangible cultural heritage at local, national and international levels; and to provide for international cooperation and assistance.