World Heritage Youth Forum (1997) Asia-Pacific (Beijing, China)
We, the participants of the first Asia-Pacific World Heritage Youth Forum are here to express our views on the importance of preserving World Heritage.
We can appreciate and see all these sites because our forefathers preserved them for us and in turn, it is our duty to preserve these for our children, so they too can appreciate them and be inspired by them.
The world is moving so fast, and the majority of the people are rushing in to the 21st century forgetting their origins, whereas it should be the other way around. We should appreciate our roots, our culture, and keeping that as a foundation. We should build our future.
During this week, students from different cultures, religions, languages, traditions, climates and foods came together to respect and to learn the importance of preserving World Heritage. We have pointed out some guide-lines to ensure that the heritage is preserved for the future:
Preparing the site
- Train tour guides to be interesting and knowledgeable and speak various languages fluently (especially English).
- Commercial premises to be outside the main site Bi-lingual sign-boards
- Walking paths for the aged, children, handicapped, etc.
- Set up a fund where people can donate money to protect the site.
- Have green belts around the site and ensure that there are no industries nearby.
- Monitor the number of tourists entering the site so as to prevent damage to fragile areas.
- Involve local people in jobs e.g, sentinels, cleaners, etc.
- Have tourist brochures, posters, etc. and involve print and electronic media.
- More rubbish bins.
Preparing the tourists
- Give a short briefing to tourists about the history, architecture, etc.
- Raise awareness about heritage in our school, village, town, etc.
- Emphasize the rules of the site, such as cleanliness.
During the visit
- Get visitors involved. Let them see, feel, hear and smell what actually happened at that time in history.
- Reconstruct actual events that took place there.
- Allow only small groups of 10-12 tourists with one guide.
After the visit
- Tell others about your visits to the site
- Volunteer to work at a local, national or World Heritage Site
- Organize quizzes, debates, art competitions involving World Heritage nationwide
- Prepare project reports, exhibitions, etc.
- Organize video and slide shows
- Raising money for heritage preservation
- Organize performances using your own talent, organize car washes or lotteries
- Make your own handicrafts (hand painted scarves, T-shirts) and sell them
- Organize fashion shows, food festivals (preferably international) and sports festivals
- Involve leading companies in our ventures (sponsoring our activities)
- Finally, if this enthusiasm is kept up by the youth, we can ensure that the future is in good hands
Teachers' plan of action for World Heritage Education in Asia and the Pacific
We, teachers from 20 Asia-Pacific countries, make an urgent appeal to all our countries to introduce World Heritage Education in school curricula in order to mobilize children and young people to take an active part in World Heritage conservation and promotion. Although we teachers attending the Beijing World Heritage Youth Forum are convinced of the importance of World Heritage Education, most of the teachers in our countries are still not yet aware of it. Therefore we, in co-operation with our students, intend to take immediate action after this Forum. Upon return to our countries we propose to do the following:
At our school we will share our experience gained here in Beijing, with other teachers, students, schools, local communities (including the media) on important outcomes of the Forum.
We look forward to receiving the video on the Beijing Youth Forum so that we can present the students' achievements to others in our, community and country, especially the national television companies.
We will submit an action-oriented report to the National Commission far UNESCO and to educational authorities about the need to give support in favor of World Heritage Education particularly through:
- The extension and development of the ASP Network in all parts of our countries, facilitated by a National Coordinator far World Heritage Education and a National World Heritage Education Task Force, with representatives from the National Commission, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Culture, cultural and natural heritage conservation bodies, universities, ASP schools;
- The translation into national languages of the UNESCO World Heritage Educational Resource Kit far Teachers. We hope to have at least 11 translations by next year;
- The organization of national and sub-regional teacher training workshops an World Heritage Education and how to use the Kit, for example under the UNESCO teacher-training program;
- The organization of special national student activities, such as camps, contests of songs on World Heritage, and provision of promotional materials such as T-shirts, stickers, caps;
- The creation of resource centers on World Heritage at the National Commissions for UNESCO so that teachers have easy access to material.
In order to co-ordinate the work at the sub-regional level, we, teachers participating at the Beijing Youth Forum, suggest an overall four-year Asia-Pacific World Heritage Plan of Action including:
- Regional World Heritage Education Newsletter based on reports from national ASP/World Education Coordinators;
- Annual regional seminars for ASP/World Heritage Education Coordinators to take stock of progress gained; discuss problems encountered and propose solutions; plan joint activities and improve communication channels;
- Networking for diffusion and exchange of World Heritage Education materials and cultural programs, particularly through the Internet.
- We realize that in order to implement such proposals, bath human and financial resources will be needed and we suggest that fund raising be made at all levels, involving everyone including the students; at the local, national, regional and international levels.
- We are confident that our National Commissions for UNESCO, educational authorities and UNESCO will support us in our proposals to develop World Heritage Education and future activities to promote young people's understanding and appreciation of the significance of World Heritage.
Following the international Youth Forum held in Bergen, Norway in 1995, an Asia-Pacific World Heritage Youth Forum was held in Beijing, China in September 1997. At this Forum UNESCO launched the Young People's World Heritage Education Project in Asia and the Pacific. The Beijing Forum became a springboard for the project to spread throughout the region.
Participants of the Beijing Forum came from 20 countries across Asia and the Pacific - from Kazakhstan in the northwest to New Zealand in the southeast. Students and teachers met to share their experiences and ideas on World Heritage. They jointly discussed and refined issues of World Heritage Education and assessed the draft version of the UNESCO World Heritage Education Resource Kit.
The concept of World Heritage was introduced and the participants realized how critically endangered natural and cultural heritage are throughout Asia and the Pacific. The Beijing Forum empowered youth enabling them to become personally involved in the preservation of the region's and the world's heritage. The participants vowed to carry the message of the importance of World Heritage back to their own countries, home communities and schools.
The Beijing Forum brought awareness of local and national heritage to a regional level, providing a unique opportunity for intercultural learning through social and cultural activities and visits to heritage sites. Student activities were designed to test and develop exercises for the World Heritage Education Resource Kit. The draft Kit was tested and evaluated, with both students and teachers giving suggestions on how to improve it.
One of the student activities focused on expressing cultural identities and seeing how one's identity is rooted in the heritage of the rest of the world. The students realized that heritage is living and changing, built by generations before us, with each generation adding a new layer to the culture with their thoughts, deeds and accomplishments.
The Beijing Forum also turned into a cultural melting pot, as participants shared their heritage and identity with others by displaying artifacts, clothes, paintings and posters. The participants became aware of their common heritage through this exhibition.
Visits to some of China's magnificent heritage sites were highlights of the Beijing Forum. Students and teachers had the opportunity to visit three World Heritage sites, as well as two sites nominated for inclusion in the World Heritage List and which now have been inscribed. Equipped with worksheets to test activities from the World Heritage Education Kit, students explored the Great Wall, Peking Man Site, the Forbidden City, the Summer Palace and the Temple of Heaven. Based on these experiences, students discussed in working groups and agreed upon recommendations on how to organize visits and how to better prepare sites for visitors, including young visitors.
By becoming aware of the local heritage, which is all around them, students are encouraged to identify their own cultural roots, and to develop an understanding of the similarities and differences they share with their fellow students. This understanding encourages mutual respect, which is one objective of World heritage Education. The Asia-Pacific World Heritage Youth Forum brought this awareness to a regional level, providing a unique opportunity for intercultural learning through social and cultural activities and visits to sites.
95 participants, of which: 26 teachers and 57 students, 1 observer, 11 organizers/resource persons
Australia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kazakhstan, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Nepal, New Zealand, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Uzbekistan, Viet Nam
The Chinese National Commission for UNESCO
The Chinese national Federation of UNESCO Clubs and Associations
The Beijing Bureau for Cultural Relics
Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD)
the World Heritage Fund
UNESCO Beijing Office
The Rhône-Poulenc Foundation
The Norwegian National Commission for UNESCO
Global and regional Follow-up
The following action has already been taken as a result of the Beijing Forum
Presentation of the Asia-Pacific World Heritage Scroll
During the 29th session of the UNESCO General Conference in Paris, a display was made of the students' World Heritage Scroll so that the thousands of delegates from UNESCO's Member States could discover the young people's work and messages in favor of World Heritage conservation.
Round Table on `Youth's Contribution to the Advancement of UNESCO's Ideals'
Two students from the Forum, Luo Hong, China and Nilakshi Parndigamage, Sri Lanka, were invited by UNESCO to take part in this Round Table on 31 October 1997 in Paris.
Intergovernmental Conference on Cultural Policies for Development
A participant from the Beijing Forum was invited to this conference, which was held in Stockholm, Sweden from 30 March to 2 April 1998.
Asia-Pacific Meeting of Youth Organizations In Preparation for the Third Session of the World Youth Forum, Bangkok, Thailand, 27-29 May 1998
The Meeting will review the situation of youth as well as the status of national youth policies in Asia-Pacific; promote youth NGO co-operation and prepare a consolidated regional input for the Third Session of the World Youth Forum, to be held in Portugal in August 1998
CNN World Report
A CNN World Report featuring the Beijing Forum was produced by UNESCO Office of Public Information and broadcast throughout the last week of January 1998, enabling viewers worldwide to learn about the objectives and some of the unique features of the encounter
Video on World Heritage Youth Fora
Plans are underway to produce a 7-minute video presenting highlights of the four World Heritage Youth Fora held in Bergen, Norway (June 1995); Dubrovnik, Croatia (May 1996); Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe (September 1996); and Beijing, China (September 1997).
Second African World Heritage Youth Forum
Plans are underway to organize the next Regional Forum on the island of Gore, Dakar, Senegal in 1998 in co-operation with the Senegalese National Commission for UNESCO.
Second International World Heritage Youth Forum
UNESCO and the Osaka Junior Chamber of Commerce Inc., Japan are planning to organize an International Youth Forum involving ASP students and teachers from all parts of the world from 22-29 November, 1998, in Kyoto, Japan.
Pacific World Heritage Youth Forum
The UNESCO Apia Office has initiated a project to design heritage education specifically for the Pacific, involving hands-on training for heritage volunteers. In 1999, a Youth Volunteers' World Heritage Forum is planned to be held in Nan Madol, Federated States of Micronesia.
Teacher training workshops and National Action Plans for World Heritage Education
UNESCO will also take steps to encourage and facilitate the implementation of sub-regional teacher training workshops and National Action Plans in co-operation with National Commissions for UNESCO, ASP National Coordinators and UNESCO Field Offices throughout the Asia and Pacific region.