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4 September 2016 - Iran among UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage Awards winners

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The UNESCO Asia-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation programme recognizes the efforts of private individuals and organizations that have successfully restored and conserved structures and buildings of heritage value in the region. By recognizing private efforts to restore and adapt historic properties the awards aim to encourage other property owners to undertake conservation projects within their communities, either independently or by seeking public-private partnerships.


This year, a total of 13 winning projects from six countries – Australia, China, India, Iran, Japan and Pakistan – have been recognized in this year’s Heritage Awards. A panel of international conservation experts met in Bangkok to review the 40 Heritage Awards entries, including 34 in the Conservation category and six for New Design.

Darugheh House in Mashad, Iran received an Honourable Mention. The conservation of Darugheh House has reinstated a significant component of the historic townscape of Mashad. Based on in-depth historical research, verified through archaeological excavation, the project preserved the original building’s scale and footprint with a focus on the retention of original materials and reuse of materials from demolished adjacent buildings. Local artisans specializing in traditional architectural decoration carried out the work, and new features were carefully identified in keeping with established conservation practice. Amidst the rapid pace of development now transforming Mashad, the restored Darugheh House provides validation for the continuing relevance of traditional spaces in contemporary urban life.

The winners were selected on the basis of the extent to which the projects reflected a clear understanding and application of various criteria, such as the articulation of the spirit of place, technical achievement, appropriate use or adaption, and the project’s contribution to the surrounding environment as well as the local community’s cultural and historical continuity.

The jury said about the Darugheh House: “The conservation of Darugheh House has reinstated a significant component of the historic townscape of Mashad. Based on in-depth historical research, verified through archaeological excavation, the project preserved the original building’s scale and footprint with a focus on the retention of original materials and reuse of materials from demolished adjacent buildings. Local artisans specializing in traditional architectural decoration carried out the work, and new features were carefully identified in keeping with established conservation practice. Amidst the rapid pace of development now transforming Mashad, the restored Darugheh House provides validation for the continuing relevance of traditional spaces in contemporary urban life.”

Further information about the UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation and this year’s winning entries can be found here.

 

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4 September 2016 - UNESCO participates in 2016 Silk Road Mayors Forum

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The historical city of Qazvin, Iran, hosted the 11th Silk Road Mayors Forum from 3-4 September 2016. The Forum, organized by World Citizens Organization (WCO), aimed at improving tourism, as well as cultural, economic and social ties between cities along the ancient Silk Roads.

Ms. Kuisch Laroche, Director of the UNESCO Tehran Cluster Office and UNESCO Representative to I.R. Iran and Turkmenistan, delivered a speech on the second day of the Forum regarding the importance of the Silk Roads for cultural dialogue and exchange.

“Perhaps the most lasting legacy of the Silk Roads has been their role in bringing cultures and peoples in contact with each other, and facilitating exchange between them”, said Ms. Kuisch Laroche.

The UNESCO Representative talked about the “Integral Study of the Silk Roads, Roads of Dialogue”, which was launched in 1988 and became one of UNESCO’s largest programmes in the 1990s. This initiative revived the historical Silk Roads and promoted the modern legacy of human interactions, shared values and common heritage, as an important basis for peace and development.

Ms. Kuisch Laroche said that in 2008, UNESCO had resumed its Silk Roads programme through new initiatives: the Silk Roads World Heritage nomination project; the Silk Road Heritage Corridors Tourism Strategy Project; and the Silk Road Online Platform.

Other speakers included the mayor of Qazvin, who provided an overview of the outcomes of the first day of the Forum and mentioned that a number of MoUs had been signed between different cities.

The speeches were followed by reports of the panel discussions that had taken place during the first day.

At the end of the second day, the participants, including many foreign diplomats and their spouses, were invited to visit the historical monuments in Qazvin city and attend the opening of an exhibition of Silk Road cities.

 

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3 September 2016 - Shahram Nazeri performs for UNESCO

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On Saturday 3 September, Iranian musical legend Shahram Nazeri held a unique performance for UNESCO at Sa’adabad Cultural and Historical Complex.

Close to 700 guests, including prominent Iranian artists, diplomats, government officials and staff of international organisations, attended the special evening under the motto “Building Peace in the Minds of Women and Men”.

Shahram Nazeri, who was born in a Kurdish family, is one of the most famous and illustrious Iranian musicians in modern history. His works represent in many ways the richness and diversity of Persian culture and traditional music. Through his music he has introduced Rumi and Ferdowsi to audiences around the globe, and his work contains influences from various ethnic backgrounds.

He has received many awards and distinctions in countries around the world and in 2007 the French Government awarded him with the prestigious title of “Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres”.

During the opening ceremony, Ms. Esther Kuisch Laroche, Director and Representative of the UNESCO Tehran Cluster Office, paid tribute to Master Nazeri’s lifelong achievements and efforts to promote Persian culture around the world.

She said music and art played an important role in UNESCO’s work. “Music has a special way of transcending boundaries and connecting people from around the world and across generations, cultures and gender in a very powerful and personal manner”, said Ms. Kuisch Laroche.

The concert was sponsored by Mana Naqsh Art and Culture Institute. Mana Naqsh designs audio-visual productions in line with UNESCO’s efforts to protect, promote and safeguard cultural heritage in Iran and the region. Their projects include “Persian Poets”, which seeks to promote Farsi-speaking poets, and “Silk of Friendship”, which refers to the common cultural heritage of countries along the ancient Silk Roads.

Shahram Nazeri has cooperated with Mana Naqsh in a new project, which combines video images of the most beautiful heritage sites in the city of Isfahan with traditional Iranian music and an overview of the rich cultural and religious diversity of Isfahan. The production has not yet been released officially, but guests at the concert were shown an exclusive preview.

The performance of Master Nazeri was followed by an outdoor reception at the beautiful “Ivan Attar” auditorium in Sa’adabad Cultural and Historical Complex, where guests had an opportunity to mingle and meet the artist.

 

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17 August 2016 - UNESCO participates in Provincial Meeting on Education, Research and Sustainable Development in Hamedan

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The Iranian Department of Environment organized a two-day provincial meeting from 16-17 August on Education, Research and Sustainable Development, in the historic city of Hamedan.

The meeting brought together provincial government officials from Hamedan, DoE staff from Tehran and provinces across Iran, and local NGOs to take stock of existing policies and plans; achievements made to date; challenges around implementing the SDGs, needs in terms of training, research, statistics, education and awareness-raising.

During the opening ceremony, Ms. Esther Kuisch Laroche, Director of the UNESCO Tehran Cluster Office, delivered a speech about the importance of Education for Sustainable Development.

“Sustainable development cannot be achieved by technological solutions, policies and regulations, or financial instruments alone. We need to change the way in which we think and act. Sustainability requires changes in how we produce and consume. Fundamentally, it requires new ways of seeing the world, new ways of thinking about our responsibilities to each other and the planet, new ways of acting and behaving as global citizens. This requires quality education and learning for sustainable development at all levels and in all social contexts”, said Ms. Kuisch Laroche.

During the meeting, the participants reviewed the achievements made to date and discussed the challenges they were facing in implementing the SDGs. Data collection and data management were identified as major challenges by all participants. They also mentioned there was an important need for increased capacity building and awareness raising around the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda at the local and provincial levels.

The UNESCO Tehran Cluster Office reiterated its full support to the Islamic Republic of Iran in the implementation of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, particularly in the areas of Education, statistics and Communication & Information.

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8 June 2016 - Iran marks World Oceans Day 2016

Every year, World Oceans Day is celebrated on 8 June to mobilize society and raise awareness about the ocean, its biodiversity and its resources.
 
 
This year, Iran celebrated World Ocean’s Day on the 5th of June with an event organized jointly by the Iranian National Committee for Oceanography and the Iranian National Institute for Oceanography and Atmospheric Science, in Tehran.
 
 
After the opening remarks by Dr. Hajizadeh, Director of the Iranian National Institute for Oceanography and Atmospheric Science, Mr. Ali Osat Hashemi, Governor of Sistan and Baluchestan Province, delivered a speech and spoke of the importance of the oceans and the seas to Iran’s resistance economy. “Sustainable economic development in Iran is not possible without a healthy ocean”, he said.
 
 
Dr. Nasiri, Secretary-General of the Iranian National Commission forUNESCOtalked about the greatness and interconnectivity of the universe to highlight our collective responsibility to protect our planet and its oceans.
 
 
Special guest speaker, Ms. Esther Kuisch Laroche, Director and Representative of the UNESCO Tehran Cluster Office first read out the message of Ms. Irina Bovova, Director-General of UNESCO on the occasion of World Oceans Day:“Despite the increasing impacts of human activities on the marine environment, the ocean remains an important driver in eradicating the greatest global challenge facing the world today: extreme poverty. The ocean is an integral part of our planet, and an absolutely essential component of human lives, livelihoods and the environment that sustains us. From fisheries and tourism to transportation and climate regulation, the ocean is key to implementing the new global agenda.”
 
 
After that, Ms. Kuisch Laroche delivered a keynote speech in which she underlined the importance of a healthy ocean to all life on earth and the urgent need to act now in order to preserve the planet’s single largest ecosystem.“We believe that ocean degradation can be reversed and the current cycle of decline can be transformed into a cycle of recovery. Yet the task of saving the global ocean is one that no government, company, UN agency or individual can achieve alone. Stopping the abusive and unsustainable exploitation of natural resources and restoring ocean health, requires a coalition for change with a clear mission.”
 
 
Ms. Kuisch Laroche referred to the COP 21 agreement in Paris and the 2030 Sustainable Developent Agenda in which ocean health features very prominently.
 
 
She also mentioned that UNESCO had recently approved the establishment of a Regional Education and Research Center on Oceanography for West Asia under the auspices of UNESCO, in Iran. She expressed the hope that this Center would play a leading role in raising awareness and strengthening research in the region.
 
World Oceans Day is marked around the world with a variety of events. To learn more or to register your event, please see:
 
 
#WorldOceansDay
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6 Jun 2016 - UNESCO celebrated World Environment Day in Tehran

On the 6thof June, UNESCO celebrated World Environment Day with the Iranian National Commission for UNESCO, the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, and the Department of Environment.
 
 
The event took place in Niavaran Cultural and Historical Complex under the theme of “Environment, Youth and Social Participation”, and brought together a wide range of participants, including high-ranking Government officials, NGOs, artists, sport federations, academics, and youth.
 
 
“Today’s meeting is trying to take an interdisciplinary look at the issue of the environment and calls upon different social groups to engage in environmental protection, conservation and development”,said Ms. Kuisch Laroche, Director and Representative of the UNESCO Tehran Cluster Office.
 
 
The global theme of the 2016 World Environment Day is “Zero Tolerance for the Illegal Wildlife Trade”.
 
 
Ms. Kuisch Laroche spoke about the importance of protecting wildlife as an essential component of sustainable development.“Here in the Islamic Republic of Iran, important efforts have been made to protect the Asiatic Cheetah, a critically endangered cheetah subspecies, surviving today only in Iran. The commitment of the Department of Environment to save these majestic animals from extinction is an example of the kind of determination and political will, which is required to conserve our wildlife. However, it will take more than just legislation to preserve our wildlife and biodiversity. In order to be successful, we need greater awareness-raising amongst the general public, and we need NGOs, UN agencies, civil society, youth, the private sector and local authorities to all work together towards this goal.”
 
H.E. Dr. Ebtekar, Vice-President of the Islamic Republic of Iran and Head of the Department of Environment spoke of the successful collaboration between the Department of Environment and the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports in this regard. She mentioned that the national football team had decided to put a picture of the Asiatic Cheetah on their shirts, which had helped to raise awareness and had started an important social movement to protect Iranian wildlife.
 
 
H.E. Dr. Goudarzi, Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports also talked about the significant role that sports clubs and athletes could play in raising awareness for important causes, such as the environment.
 
 
Dr. Mirzadeh, President of the Islamic Azad University, talked about the establishment of the UNESCO Chair in Clean and Renewable Energies in 2014. He expressed the hope to foster closer cooperation between the University and UNESCO in the field of environment. To this end, an MOU was signed between Islamic Azad University and the Iranian National Commission for UNESCO, during the ceremony.
 
 
Other speakers included Dr. Tabesh, Head of the Environment Group of the Islamic Parliament of Iran, and Dr. Mousavi, Executive Deputy of the Passive Defense Research Centre.
 
 
World Environment Day is celebrated each year around the globe on the 5thof June. For more information or to register your event, please see:http://www.wed2016.com/
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