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International Conference on “World Heritage in Young Hands - a Dialogue among Civilizations”

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ASWAN/CAIRO, Egypt, 6-12 February 2002

Event

International Conference on "World Heritage in Young Hands  - a Dialogue among Civilizations"

Some 80 high-level participants, representing a wide range of fields, gathered at the International Conference on World Heritage in Young Hands - A Dialogue among Civilizations, held in Aswan/Cairo (Egypt) from 6-12 February 2002. In addition to experts from some 20 countries around the world, the Conference benefited from the participation of 20 Egyptian specialists.

Objectives


In view of the preoccupying situation in the world today and the many threats to the preservation of World Heritage, ranging from poverty, environmental degradation, mass tourism to violence and armed conflict, the Conference's objectives were multiple and ambitious:

  • Encourage pluralism, dialogue, solidarity, mutual respect and appreciation among educators and heritage specialist;
  • Examine the reinforcement of a "dialogue among civilizations" and in particular intercultural learning, as an integral part of World Heritage Education;
  • Shed new light on the interpretation of World Heritage sites as "touchstones of civilization" and as illustrations of the interactions between civilizations;
  • Plan a series of international ASPnet World Heritage Education twinning initiatives;
  • Examine ways and means to enhance in-service and pre-service teacher training in support of World Heritage Education;
  • Identify ways to contribute to the follow-up to the United Nations Year for Dialogue among Civilizations (2001), the observance of the International Year of Cultural Heritage (2002) and the 30th anniversary of the adoption of the World Heritage Convention (2002).

Outcome

By the end of the Conference, after nearly a week of panel discussions, workshops and field trips, participants agreed on a number of concrete actions, including:

  • Elaborating guidelines for developing; innovative, multimedia educational material on World Heritage Education;
  • Producing a teacher training manual in support of World Heritage Education;
  • Undertaking a series of international ASPnet twinning route initiatives;
  • Identifying ways to observe the 30th anniversary of the World Heritage Convention.

At the close of the meeting, participants adopted the "Call for Action" was elaborated by a small drafting group the five regions of the world and approved by all participating countries.

Countries represented

Brazil, Cuba, Egypt, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Greece, Italy, Lebanon, Mali, Morocco, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Russian Federation, Senegal, South Africa, Spain, Uzbekistan, Yemen.

Call for Action

We, the participants from all five regions of the world at the International Conference on World Heritage in Young Hands - Dialogue Among Civilizations, Egypt, February 2002 "Considering,

The increasing damages of war and violence at the beginning of this millennium, the threat on natural and cultural balances of the planet, and the suffering inflicted upon this population by the abuses of commercial globalization, by the aggravation of inequalities between the rich and the poor, and by the subsequent rise of intolerance,

That it is possible to grow within one's own culture and at the same time to nurture universal values,

That these two challenges are endangered by the current forms of globalization,

That the preservation of the monuments and sites, which corresponds to the compelling duty of preserving humanity's memory, must be accompanied by the preservation of the capacity of individuals to develop within their cultures and to express their belonging to humankind through their differences,

That heritage protection can also play significant role in the economic and social development of local communities,

That educating young people is the principal means to maintain the vitality and the diversity of cultures as well as to achieve the universal values they convey,

That heritage education must allow the young person both to consider his or her environment and culture as a citizen and to link this local heritage with universal values,

Recommend to Member States

To urgently introduce World Heritage Education, as advocated by UNESCO, into curricular and extra-curricular activities for young people, in order to foster their awareness both of their cultural identities and universal values, and to help them to build up the necessary skills for their socialization and their active participation to the world,

To give intangible heritage a prominent place, alongside tangible heritage, by emphasizing the historical and universal dimensions of human activities in the scientific, technological, artistic and cultural fields,

To aim at making World Heritage Education accessible to all young people, particularly through the following means:

    • By giving all the teachers and facilitators appropriate training, backed with resources provided by UNESCO, by national educational institutions, cultural institutions and professionals in the field of art and culture
    • By emphasizing within school curricula the cultural, natural and universal dimensions of the subjects taught
    • By ensuring that all their cultural institutions (museums, libraries, archives, art and cultural centers) have an educational mission and by inviting them to develop partnership with educational institutions
    • By taking into particular consideration and by positive action, of schools in unfavorable circumstances

Implementing these programs by using all available technologies, new as well as traditional

To share the experiences and educational material on World Heritage, in order to enable UNESCO World Heritage Centre and Associated School Projects to build up a base of reliable data - according to scientific criteria and universal values, and the methodological tools required by the teachers to utilize these data with their pupils

to involve young people, through active methods, in taking on responsibilities related to preserving World Heritage and engaging in fruitful communication between cultures and civilizations, particularly by directing them to communicate with decision-makers and to participate in concrete activities of maintenance and restoration of heritage, supervised by professionals.

And recommend to UNESCO

  • to reinforce the Young People's World Heritage Education project and to increase its efficiency by developing closer links between ASPnet and the general education systems of Member States,
  • to encourage intercultural learning as an integral part of World Heritage Education programs and initiatives, chiefly by considering World Heritage sites as "touchstones" illustrating interaction and dialogue between civilizations,
  • to develop new methods and educational resources designed both for students and teachers, as well as for specialists in World Heritage Education, as a tool for the implementation of programs, projects and activities,
  • to encourage and help Member States to develop in-service and pre-service teacher training programs on World Heritage Education, taking into account local values as a first step towards the appreciation of universal values,
  • to propose and to implement programs aiming to enhance awareness of World Heritage by an extended range of actors and possible partners such as media professionals, and private or public sponsors.

Organizers

The Egyptian National Commission for UNESCO
UNESCO Headquarters
UNESCO Cairo Office
UNESCO Amman Office