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27 Feb 2018 - UNESCO and ECO Cultural Institute celebrate International Mother Language Day 2018

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In 1999, UNESCO declared that 21 February be regarded as International Mother Language Day. To mark the 19th celebration of this day, the UNESCO Tehran Cluster Office and ECO Cultural Institute (ECI) held a cultural event in Tehran with the cooperation of various embassies. 

In the opening speech, H.E. Dr. Mohammad Mahdi Mazaheri, President of ECO Cultural Institute, spoke about importance of languages for identity and the transmission of cultural heritage.

Echoing that message, Ms. Esther Kuisch Laroche, Director and Representative of the UNESCO Tehran Cluster Office, said: “A language is far more than just a means of communication. It is the very condition of our humanity. Our values, our beliefs and our identity are embedded within it. It is through language that we transmit our experiences, our traditions and our knowledge. The diversity of languages reflects the incontestable wealth of our imaginations and ways of life.”

She talked about UNESCO’s global efforts to preserve linguistic diversity. “Each language offers a unique testimony of its civilization’s cultural genius and contributions to the world’s heritage – not to mention its crucial role in building intercultural dialogue, reconciliation and peace.”

H.E. Mr. A.K.M. Majibur Rahman Bhuiyan, Ambassador of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, then delivered a speech about the importance of the International Mother Language Day to the people of Bangladesh.

H.E. Mr. Alfonso Zegbe, Ambassador of Mexico, recited a poem in Spanish by Nezahualcoyotl - poet, philosopher and ruler of the city-state of Texcoco in pre-Columbian era Mexico. His recitation was followed by a musical performance by the Afghan ensemble Maam-e Mihan.

After that, there were poetry recitations from Bangladesh, Tajikistan and China.

The event was attended by many representatives of diplomatic missions and international organizations, as well as artists and government representatives.

At the end of the programme, the guests visited a photo exhibition organized by the UN Information Centre (UNIC) depicting the history of the United Nations in Iran; as well as the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Iran.

The exhibition will be open to the public until the end of the week at the ECO Cultural Institute in Tehran.



25 Jan 2018 - UNESCO organizes training on transboundary water management for water professionals from Afghanistan and Iran

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From 22-24 January 2018, UNESCO organized a training on transboundary water management for a group of 30 water professionals from Afghanistan and Iran. The training was held at UNESCO headquarters in Paris, as part of a series of tailor-made regional trainings by the International Hydrological Programme (UNESCO-IHP) on Transboundary Water Management. UNESCO-IHP has held similar training workshops for different regions across the world.

The training provided advanced learning on transboundary water resource management with case studies and lessons learned from different regions in the world, including the Senegal River Basin, the Orange River and the Mekong. Renowned international experts made presentations about topics such as international water law principles, data management, environmental impact assessment (EIA) and strategic environmental assessment (SEA), and on climate change and its impact on transboundary cooperation.

The Paris-based training was followed by a two-day field visit on 25-26 Jan 2018 to Germany and the Netherlands, where the participants were able to see how those two countries manage their transboundary waters together. The group of Afghan and Iranian water professionals visited several bilateral water projects between Germany and the Netherlands, and were able to discuss practical issues regarding transboundary water cooperation with their European colleagues.

This training was organized with the generous financial contribution of the Federal Government of Germany and the Government of the Netherlands, and with technical support from the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and the IHE Delft Institute for Water Education.

For more information about UNESCO’s work in the field of water security, please see: https://en.unesco.org/themes/water-security





7 Dec 2017 - Chogān and Kamantcheh from Iran inscribed on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

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The 12th session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage takes place in Jeju Island, Republic of Korea, from Monday 4 to Saturday 9 December 2017.

On the fourth day of the meeting, two elements from the Islamic Republic of Iran were inscribed on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. The two inscriptions are Chogān, a horse-riding game accompanied by music and storytelling, and the art of crafting and playing with Kamantcheh/Kamancha, a bowed string musical instrument. The second element is jointly inscribed by the Islamic Republic of Iran and Azerbaijan.

This year, the Committee considers six nominations for inclusion on the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding designed to rally international cooperation and assistance for threatened cultural expressions. Thirty-four nominations for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity will also be examined alongside two proposals for the Register of Good Safeguarding Practices and two International Assistance Requests for safeguarding plans or inventories.


29 Nov 2017 - UNESCO supports IIEES in conducting community-based simultaneous earthquake and safety drill in Iran

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On 29 November 2017, UNESCO Tehran Cluster Office supported the International Institute of Earthquake Engineering and Seismology (IIEES) in conducting the 19th national earthquake and safety drill which simultaneously took place in all schools across Iran.By simulating earthquake situations in schools and their communities, the initiative aims to strengthen disaster risk reduction awareness and preparedness in the country.

The theme of the 19th national earthquake and safety drill was ‘Safe Schools, Resilient Society’. Since 2015, IIEES has been selecting pilot schools to perform the drill at the community level, mobilizing citizens living in the vicinity of schools to join in the drill. In this new process, initiated by the Strategic Committee of IIEES, schools transform into the local crisis management center when an earthquake strikes.

This year, community-led and community-driven drillswere held in one selected school in every province of Iran.By 2025, IIEES envisions that all safe schools in Iran will function as a disaster management hub at their local community.

An independent institute under the Ministry of Science, Research, and Technology, IIEES was established in 1989 following the recommendation of the 24th UNESCO General Conference. The Institute has played an effective role in strengthening formal and informal education on disaster risk reduction at the school and community levels, enabling students and locals living in the vicinity of schools to become more familiar with the basics of earthquake preparedness. 

By simulating earthquake situations in schools and their communities, IIEES –with the support of UNESCO- aims to increase disaster risk reduction awareness and preparedness, not just in the Islamic Republic of Iran, but in its neighboring countries as well.  Given the earthquake-prone characteristic of the region, the initiative aims to boost students' readiness in the face of earthquakes and help make countries of the region less seismically vulnerable.

At 10:18 AM, anearthquake alarm wasbroadcasted onIran’snational radio station. At Esmat Girls’ School, the selected school for the community-based drill in Tehran, the students evacuated the building, forming organized lines. Students playing in the yard covered their head and dropped to the ground and those inside classrooms dropped under a desk or table. Teachers and other individuals within the school premises also participated in the earthquake and safety drill.

Meanwhile, a first aid demonstration was conducted by some trained students in the school yard, with assistance from the Iranian Red Crescent Society and firefighters. Different methods of evacuating casualties, emergency sheltering, fire extinguishing,and evacuation guiding,were also demonstrated.

The 2017 national earthquake and safety drill was organized by IIEESin collaboration with the UNESCO Tehran Cluster Office;the Ministry of Education; the Ministry of Science, Research and Technology; the Ministry of Interior; the National Disaster Management Organization; the Iranian Red Crescent Society; and the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting.

Representatives and observers from the Economic Cooperation Organization, the Embassy of Denmark, and the Embassy of Sweden were also present during the drill.


15 Nov 2017 - UNESCO celebrates 2017 World Science Day at Tehran Book Garden

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UNESCO in partnership with the Iran Association for Popularization of Sciences and the Iran National Commission for UNESCO celebrated the 2017 World Science Day for Peace and Development in Tehran Book Garden.

The theme of this year’s science day is “Science for Global Understanding.”  The event was attended by a large group of scholars, government officials, students, representatives of embassies and individuals active in popularizing sciences. The event also paid tribute to the victims of the recent earthquake that occurred at the border of Iran and Iraq.

The event was opened by Dr. Akram Ghadimi, Head of the Iranian Association for Popularization of Sciences, who talked about how science can lead to a common global understanding and peace.

Ms. Niloofar Sadeghi of the UNESCO Tehran Cluster Office welcomed all the participants and read out the message of UNESCO’s Director-General on the occasion of World Science Day 2017: “Today, the complexity of the world’s issues goes beyond the framework of a single discipline. Hence, UNESCO has made trans-disciplinarity the cornerstone of its work for sustainability; building networks with multiple stakeholders such as museums, universities, private and public actors, governments and NGOs. This year’s theme for the World Science Day for Peace and Development, Science for global understanding, encompasses UNESCO’s approach to develop scientific cooperation between and within societies, combining global sustainability and local actions and knowledge.”

Dr. Mahin Gazani, Head of the Science Department of the Iranian National Commission for UNESCO, talked about the five main outcomes of the 2017 Science Summit: i) Equitable and sustainable management of natural resources is essential to avoid conflicts and to promote peaceful development, ii) The preservation of scientific capacities, threatened by global migration trends, is key to peace, sustainable development, resilience and recovery, iii) Diversity is a key enabler of excellence in science, technology and innovation and is essential to optimize its relevance and impact, iv) Commitment to the universal right to science, v) The need to launch a regional science forum for the Arab World.

Dr. Elaheh Hejazi, Advisor for Women Affairs at the Ministry of Science, Research and Technology, elaborated on the important role of science in reaching wisdom that is the underlying requirement of peace. Dr Hejazi argued that the ethical dimensions of scientific advancements must be well addressed. She concluded by hoping that with the increased number of girls in Iranian universities, women would contribute more to an equitable society free of violence.

The World Science Day for Peace and Development was established by UNESCO in 2001 in order to develop bridges between science and society. The aim of this day is to ensure that citizens are kept informed of developments in science, while underscoring the role scientists play in broadening our understanding of the remarkable, fragile planet we call home and in making our societies more sustainable. World Science Day is celebrated on 10 November each year followed by the International Science week.

See: http://www.unesco.org/new/en/unesco/events/prizes-and-celebrations/celebrations/international-days/world-science-day-for-peace-and-development/


2 Nov 2017 - Two Iranian Projects win the 2017 Asia- Pacific Award for Cultural Heritage Conservation

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The Aftab Cultural House in Isfahan received the Honourable Mention Award and the Persian Gulf University in Bushehr won the Award for New Design in Heritage Contexts in the 2017 UNESCO Asia-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation.

The Jury session of the award, consisting of nine international conservation experts, was convened during 9-11 August 2017 at UNESCO Bangkok. This year the Jury awarded one Award of Excellence, two Awards of Distinction, four Awards of Merit, six Honourable Mentions and three Award for New Design in Heritage Contexts. Sixteen projects from six countries – Australia, China, India, Iran, New Zealand, and Singapore – have been recognized in this year’s Heritage Awards among forty-three projects in total.

For Aftab Cultural House Project, the Jury stated that:

“The project has dramatically transformed a deserted Qajar-dynasty house used to shelter sheep into a popular cultural hub. Through private initiative, the project closely engaged the community throughout the conservation process. Traditional materials were used to repair the deteriorated adobe structure, with the visual highlight being the colourful mosaic of hand-made tiles adorning the roof and courtyard. Under an all-female management council, the building today houses a library, cafe and cultural venue. Modest in scale but with significant local impact, the Aftab Cultural House imaginatively demonstrates the viability of adapting heritage buildings to sustain and enhance cultural continuity.”

The Faculty of Arts and Architecture Project was the project submitted by the Persian Gulf University for which the jury stated that:

“The new Faculty of Art & Architecture building of the Persian Gulf University responds to an urban design challenge with a contextual solution that demonstrates a sound understanding of the vernacular architectural typology. Located at the edge of the historic district of Bushehr, the new building maintains continuity with the existing urban morphology, with its compatible scale, façade treatment and selection of materials. By configuring the building around landscaped courtyards, the project creates an oasis for the university community using traditional environmental management techniques. The new design maintains a distinctive but respectful presence vis-à-vis the restored historic “Nozari House” and other adjacent buildings. The project offers a noteworthy model for contemporary architecture that embodies the regional genius loci.”

The UNESCO Asia-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation were set up to encourage and recognize the crucial role that the private sector plays in the long-term safeguarding of our region’s cultural heritage. The winning projects have set high technical and social standards for conservation in the region. They have increased local preservation efforts, inspiring local communities to take action to save their historic buildings.

Each year the winners receive the Award from different categories of “Award of Excellence”, “Award of Distinction”, “Award of Merit”, “Honourable Mention” and “Award for New Design in Heritage Contexts”.

The Award for New Design in Heritage Contexts is given to newly-built structures that demonstrate outstanding design well-integrated into historic contexts. The Award encourages submissions of completed new architecture and design that enrich the existing heritage setting. Building annexes, as well as new extensions, new buildings, new public spaces and new structures, such as bridges, are all eligible for consideration.

Five more Iranians won this prize: “Polsheer House” Djolfa, Isfahan (2002 Award of Merit); “Zargar-e-Yadzi House”, Yazd (2004 Honourable Mention); “Zain-ad-din Karavansara”, Yazd (2005 Honourable Mention); “Saryazd Citadel” Yazd (2014 Award of Distinction); Darugheh House (2016 Honourable Mention).

For more information about UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage Awards for Culture Heritage Conservation please visit: http://bangkok.unesco.org/theme/asia-pacific-heritage-awards/


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