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Friday, October 15, 2021

A Saudi initiative leads “Arabic calligraphy” to the “UNESCO” list

The Living Heritage Unit of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization “UNESCO” has accepted the joint file submitted by 16 Arab countries, with the initiative, leadership, and coordination of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, under the title “Arabic Calligraphy Arts: Skills, Knowledge and Practices” for inclusion on the Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage For humanity in 2021, amid two separate attempts by Turkey and Iran, to register the line in their respective names.

This came according to Annie Tohme Thabet, sociologist and anthropologist at Saint Joseph University in the Lebanese capital Beirut, and a member of the UNESCO global network of facilitators experts in intangible cultural heritage, which supervised the file.

On December 17th, UNESCO registered the application of the Maghreb couscous within its list of intangible world heritage, following the presentation of a joint file from 4 Maghreb countries, namely Algeria, Morocco, Mauritania, and Tunisia, entitled “Couscous: Knowledge, Skills, and Rituals.”

On the same day, the organization included the national aflaj file submitted in the name of the UAE, and the joint camel race file between the UAE and the Sultanate of Oman, in the representative list of intangible cultural heritage.

Saudi initiative
In an interview with Al-Sharq, Thabet indicated that the file was officially handed over to the UNESCO office in the French capital, Paris, in November, after the Saudi Society for the Preservation of Heritage proposed the idea at a meeting of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of UNESCO. In Bogota, Colombia, in December 2019.

She added: “At that time, the initiative was supported by the Arab Organization for Education, Culture and Science (ALECSO), which advised the preparation of a joint Arab file in which each country would present all the data and information, and compile the data to record it in a scientific and documentary form with sound and image, because of the importance this element represents in preserving the Arabic language. As one of the foundations of the common Arab cultural identity, as well as its creative, artistic, aesthetic and social advantages of a deeply human dimension, “according to the statement,” ALSCO “.

16 Arab countries
Thabet reported that Alsco supervised all stages of the process of preparing this file and coordinating between the Arab countries participating in it, and included, in addition to Saudi Arabia, Jordan, the Emirates, Bahrain, Tunisia, Algeria, Iraq, Sudan, the Sultanate of Oman, Palestine, Lebanon, and Kuwait. And Egypt, Morocco, Mauritania, and Yemen.

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