38th Session of World Heritage Forum opens in Doha…

The World Heritage Youth Forum was opened yesterday in the presence of HE Sheikha al-Mayassa bint Hamad al-Thani, chairperson of Qatar Museums, in conjunction with the 38th session of the World Heritage Committee to be held in Doha from June 15 to 25.

The 38th World Heritage Committee will consider the inscription of 40 sites on Unesco’s World Heritage List when it meets in Doha under its chair, HE Sheikha Mayassa. It is the first time that the event is taking place in a Gulf country.

The World Heritage Youth Forum is being held in Al Zubarah and Doha. The participants aged between 18 and 30 from the state parties members of the World Heritage Committee and the state parties from the Arab region are participating in the forum.

HE the Minister of Culture, Arts and Heritage Dr Hamad bin Abdul Aziz al-Kuwari; HE the Minister of  Youth and Sports Salah bin Ghanem bin Nasser al-Ali;  Dr Anna Paolini, director of Unesco Doha Office; Ali Zainal, ambassador and permanent delegate of Qatar to Unesco; and Sheikh Hassan bin Mohamed al-Thani, vice chairman of Qatar Museums, were present at the opening ceremony at the Sharq Village and Spa in Doha.

Speaking on the occasion, HE al-Ali said pluralism and diversity were identified with communities and customs. “The youth have the ability to change the attitude among the people and communities. Empowerment of the youth starts when they understand the history and culture of the country.”

He added that youth with their ideas, vision and goals will shape the future and provide the way for mutual interaction among communities and countries.

Zainal noted that the participants will have the opportunity through the forum to learn about  many aspects of Qatar’s culture and heritage. “We hope that you will be ambassadors for our culture in your country.  Qatar has also been proactive in contributing to the global fund for the reconstruction of heritage in Mali.”

The objectives of the forum are to understand the 1972 World Heritage Convention and the challenges of its implementation, raise awareness among participants of cultural heritage in their countries and  explain the role of public archaeology and local communities in heritage management.

The forum also aims at providing young people with skills related to preservation and conservation  as well as explaining to young people how the World Heritage Committee works.

The participants will explore the archaeological and heritage sites in Qatar along with heritage experts during the forum. They will take part in workshops, carry out hands-on conservation activities and participate in discussions focusing on cultural heritage, practices and processes. They will share presentations on selected sites of their countries and take part in the Youth Model of the World Heritage Committee session.

The World Heritage Committee comprises of representatives from 21 States Parties to the Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage elected by the General Assembly of States Parties to the Convention.