An international conference was held to commemorate the opening of
the UNESCO’s International Centre for Documentary Heritage (ICDH)
From October 31, the “1st ICDH Memory of the World International Conference : Present and Future of the MoW Programme” was held in Cheongju, South Korea. ICDH, which was established in 2020 by the agreement between UNESCO and the government of the Republic of Korea to support the preservation of documentary heritage around the world and expansion of public accessibility, is the world’s only international organization in the field of documentary heritage and the opening celebration in the new building was held until November 1.
UNESCO’s Memory of the World (MoW) Programme, one of the three cultural heritage initiatives, has registered 496 documentary heritage items from around the world since 1992. This conference with three sessions under the theme of ‘Present and Future of MoW Project’, was attended by 130 people from 37 countries from the government, UNESCO-related organizations, universities, research institutes, and memory institutions.
⏻ Looking at the future prospects of the Memory of the World Programme
In Session 1 “Current Issues of the Memory of the World Programme and Role of International Centre for Documentary Heritage (ICDH): Future Vision”, current issues and future directions of the MoW programme were discussed. In his keynote speech, Assistant Director-General of UNESCO’s Information and Communication Sector Taufik Jelassi expressed gratitude for the support and commitment of the Korean government, including the National Archives of Korea supporting ICDH. “We aim to char the new collaborative paths including evaluating the role of the technology and the diversification of safeguarding strategies of documentary heritage,” he said.
In a congratulatory speech, Carlo B. Ebeo, Commissoner of National Committee for Culture and the Arts of the Philippines, said, “Today’s occasion is very important for all of us because we can use the platform of the ICDH to uphold peace and development in the world. We hope to be of partner with ICDH through the Memory of the World Programme as we pursue this mission of inscribing documentary heritage of the Filipinos as testament that truly, even amidst all these conflict, wars and violence in the world, there is hope for humanity.”
ICDH Secretary-General Yoon Myoung Cho emphasized, “Documentary heritage is a world asset that belongs to all of humanity and will contribute to spreading public understanding of cultural heritage in general through international cooperation.” He presented ICDH’s four strategic goals: training experts, developing content, monitoring for preservation, and establishing a documentary heritage platform.
Roslyn Russell, chair of Australian Memory of the World Committee, said that the increase in the number of countries inscribing new documentary heritage in 2023 is the result of continued expert training for registration through the Korean National Commission for UNESCO (KNCU) and ICDH. In the session, the world’s first online community “Digital City” (Netherlands) and the records of the Donghak Peasant Revolution were introduced as new items.
Peter Scholling, Chair of UNESCO’s Memory of the World Program Committee for Latin America and the Caribbean, said, “The grand opening of the ICDH is a remarkable achievement” and “this heritage continues to shine, leading the way to a future enriched with knowledge, culture, and history.”
ICDH and memory institutions in Southeast Asia will discuss the MoW Programme including education, inscription and preservation of documentary heritage.