Friday, November 7, 2008

Protecting the Globe's Greatest Treasures

Many key words and themes spring to mind when one thinks of the work of the United Nations, but sand drawing and ox-herding are probably not some of them! In an effort to further protect the world’s most treasured cultural items and traditions, UNESCO established The Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in Istanbul, Turkey on Tuesday. The new list includes about 90 treasures, which include Indonesian shadow puppetry, the Royal Ballet of Cambodia, textile art in Peru, polyphonic singing of Aka Pigmies of the Central African Republic, Mexico’s indigenous festivity dedicated to the dead, sand drawings in Vanuatu, and much more. These unique elements join a multitude of other important cultural and historical characteristics and traditions covered by the Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage. Next time the United Nations comes up, new things may now come to mind!