Lecture by Rieks Smeets of UNESCO now available online

On February 20th, 2006, Dr. Rieks Smeets, chief of UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage section, delivered a talk entitled “Safeguarding Living Heritage: The Story of a Convention” at the University of Missouri.

The entire lecture, together with five examples of intangible cultural heritage, is now available for viewing. The video illustrations include the Carnival of Binche (Belgium), the oral and graphic expressions of the Wajapi (Brazil), the Pansori epic chant (Republic of Korea), the woodcrafting knowledge of the Zafimaniry (Madagascar), and Vanuatu sand drawings (Melanesia).

Dr. Smeets described and illustrated the history of ongoing efforts by the United Nations to foster new approaches to understanding and protecting the cultural heritage of humanity, devoting special attention to the diversity and evolution of the communities and groups that create, re-create, and transmit oral traditions, traditions of music and dance, ritual and festive events, and other forms. He focused on the UNESCO Convention of 2003 for the safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage, which has already been ratified by more than 30 member states from six continents, and on the results it has produced so far.

Safeguarding Living Heritage: The Story of a Convention - Rieks Smeets