Safeguarding Qatar’s intangible cultural heritage highlighted

  • 8 months   ago
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from left: Prof. Federico Lenzerini of University of Siena, Italy; Dr. Abdulla Mohammed Al Sulaiti of Qatar Museums; Hamad Al Muhannadi from the Ministry of Culture and Sports; and Dr. Mariam Ibrahim Al-Hammadi of Qatar University during the panel discussion at National Museum of Qatar.

Vital elements of Qatar’s intangible cultural heritage need to be urgently preserved and safeguarded, and their continuity ensured amid the rapid development the country witnesses, a panel of national experts has stressed. 
This was underlined during a panel discussion organised on Tuesday by Qatar Museums (QM) and University College London (UCL) at the National Museum of Qatar, which brought together leading Qatari experts including Hamad Al Muhannadi of Ministry of Culture and Sports, Dr. Mariam Ibrahim Al-Hammadi of Qatar University, and Dr. Abdulla Mohammed Al Sulaiti of Qatar Museums.
Moderated by Fernando Brugman of Unesco Regional Office, the panel on “Safeguarding the Intangible Cultural Heritage in Qatar: Current Scenarios, Challenges and Future Perspectives” was introduced by Prof. Federico Lenzerini  of University of Siena, Italy, who said appropriate safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage is also necessary for the State to preserve its own cultural inheritance and the value of multiculturalism and cultural diversity. 
In 2008, Qatar ratified the 2003 Unesco Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) and since then three elements of Qatar’s ICH have been inscribed jointly with several other countries on the Unesco Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity namely the Majlis, a cultural and social space; Arabic coffee, a symbol of generosity and Falconry, a living human heritage. 
Al-Hammadi said important elements of the country’s intangible cultural heritage should be identified and safeguarded and their continuity within the community should be ensured. 


“We should raise awareness on the meaning and importance of our intangible cultural heritage and their relationship with the community and how it is vital to identity,” she said, adding safeguarding both tangible and intangible heritage is not only the responsibility of the state but also a social responsibility. 
“Safeguarding and preserving cultural heritage is not only the responsibility of the state and nongovernmental organisations but also of individuals. However, that effort needs campaigns to raise awareness of its importance. Furthermore, we need to have policies to safeguard them in a structured way,” she stressed.
“We had some intangible patterns of pure Qatari heritage that have been forgotten because they are not anymore linked with Qatari society because they were practised back in the day for particular reasons such as for economic reasons  and since they are not anymore practised they have ceased to exist,” she added.
Al Sulaiti, on the other hand, stressed “education  in the museum world must be of paramount importance” when it comes to preserving and safeguarding intangible cultural heritage. 
He said replicas of artefacts related to intangible cultural heritage that are kept and displayed in museums must be created for students to experience and appreciate their importance. 
He also suggested collaboration among entities to integrate the study of intangible cultural heritage in school curriculum.
Al Muhannadi said they have worked on the national inventory of intangible cultural heritage of Qatar he hoped there would be awareness of this national inventory  through gatherings and meetings involving the community.