Laos, Unesco share experiences in heritage protection

VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/ANN) - Government officials and representatives from the Republic of Korea and UNESCO Bangkok gathered in Vientiane on Monday for a five-day workshop to discuss heritage protection.

The workshop on safeguarding the intangible cultural heritage and nomination files is being held from August 12-16 with support from the Republic of Korea. It aims to broaden the knowledge of authorities who work in heritage protection.

Deputy Director General of the Heritage Department, Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism, Mr Viengkeo Souksavathdee, said the workshop is a great opportunity for participants to share experiences with experts from UNESCO Bangkok.

Participants will learn about the Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage of 2003 from UNESCO Bangkok representative, Ms Kamonrat Chayamarit.

The Convention’s purpose is to ensure that community intangible cultural heritage is respected while raising awareness about its importance at all levels.

Mr Viengkeo hoped that authorities would pass on the knowledge gained at the workshop as well as the details of the 2003 treaty on safeguarding intangible cultural heritage.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to Laos, Mr Shin Sung-soon, said the protection and restoration of both tangible and intangible forms of heritage was to be encouraged for cultural heritage development.

“World cultural heritage and the intangible heritage of humanity gifted by our ancestors are an invaluable asset to the entire humanity. I, therefore, would like to ask for your continued support for preserving and passing on the traditional culture to our next generation,” Mr Shin Sung-soon said.

In Laos, there is a saying that the Lao people live in stilted wooden houses, eat sticky rice and play the khaen. The khaen is one of the most traditional musical instruments that represents Lao culture, he explained.

“It is, therefore, my great pleasure to note that the khaen was registered as a form of World Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO in December 2017, with the support of the Korean Cultural Heritage Foundation,” he said.