Within the framework of the celebrations for the 40th anniversary of the inscription of the Mayan Site of Copán on the World Heritage List, the Honduran authorities and the UNESCO Multi-Country Office in San José organized the debate “The Role of World Heritage for Sustainable Development in the Framework of the Post-COVID-19 Crisis: The Example of the Mayan Site of Copán.”
This event was an exceptional occasion to discuss the cultural and scientific value of this World Heritage site, as well as the challenges for the conservation and promotion of cultural heritage in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, and also about the many ways in which cultural heritage can contribute to economic and social recovery once the emergency has been overcome. The virtual exhibition "Fragile Memories: archaeological and community images, Copán, Honduras 1891-1900" was also inaugurated on this occasion.
The event had a very distinguished opening by the President of the Republic of Honduras, Mr. Juan Orlando Hernández, a greeting from the Director General of UNESCO, Ms. Audrey Azoulay and the Director of the Regional Institute of World Heritage, Mr. José Francisco Román Gutiérrez, who also participated as a panelist. The panel of experts was also made up of Mrs. Barbara Fash, from the Peabody Museum of Archeology and Ethnology at Harvard University, Mr. Ricardo Agurcia Fasquelle, archaeologist, community leader and director of the Copán Association, Mr. Seichi Nakamura, a professor and researcher at the University of Waseda, in Japan, Mr. Héctor Portillo, manager of the Honduran Institute of Anthropology and History, and Mr. César Moreno Triana, specialist of the Unit for Latin America and the Caribbean of the UNESCO World Heritage Center.
"This 40th anniversary is a tribute to all those who have worked for decades on the Copan Maya Site; Honduras sends them a recognition. Today we have a huge challenge ahead of us: the pandemic has hit us hard and the time has come to stand up, with strength, with vigor, united all of us. By promoting culture, the wealth of the region and tourism, we will recover the economy, which, in addition to health, has been severely hit." Juan Orlando Hernández, President of Honduras
This event was part of the #ResiliArt movement, launched by UNESCO in the context of the COVID-19 crisis in order to bring visibility to the situation of the cultural and creative sectors during the pandemic, showing their strategies for resilience and co-building roads to face the emergency. Likewise, the celebration joins the #ComparteNuestroPatrimonio campaign, for which UNESCO strives to promote access to culture - from World Heritage properties to practices related to living heritage - during this period of massive confinement.
Watch the event here.