On 9 June 2019, UNESCO Tehran Cluster Office participated in the opening ceremony of the “First Congress on Archival Studies” and the “2nd Conference on Iranian Archives” organized by the National Library and Archives Organization of Iran. This was the last event of the week-long ceremonies of the International Archives week under the theme of “Designing the Archives in the 21st Century”.
Dr Ashraf Boroujerdi, Head of the National Library and Archives of Iran, formally opened the event by welcoming the archivists and thanked them for providing the public with the information they are looking for. In her remarks, Dr Boroujerdi underscored the long history of record keeping in Iran and among different dynasties, and talked about the national law ratified in 1970 for the creation of the Archives Organization in Iran. She continued by saying that after the victory of the Islamic Revolution and at the very beginning, not much attention was paid to the preservation of the documents and archives, some were taken out of the country, some were destroyed. But slowly after the end of Iran-Iraq war, the importance of their preservation was acknowledged. She stated that: “There was a war in our country for eight years, many documents and records were produced which could be used in order to prevent waging wars in the future.
Mr Cvetan Cvetkovski, Officer in Charge of the UNESCO Cluster Office in Tehran was the next speaker who commenced his speech by stating the background of the proclamation of International Archives Day and importance of archives. He continued by highlighting UNESCO’s endeavors to raise awareness on the necessity of safeguarding and preserving archives. He mentioned some of the risks threatening archives and accentuated some examples of the incidents where archives were destroyed and vanished forever. Mr Cvetkovski said: “We must do everything we can to protect and preserve the archives. Archives are not passive storehouses of old stuff, but they are active sites where one can browse, research, dig, learn from and enjoy. They offer something for everyone. Let us join forces to keep the nation’s memory alive and make the past within everyone’s reach”.
The last speaker of this event was Mr Ali Zarafshan, Deputy for the Archives who referred to the speech by UNESCO’s Officer in Charge on the importance of Archives, and the celebration of both a national and international day in Iran to raise awareness among general public. He stated the central role of individuals in the field of archives and the need to provide access to archives for everyone. He pointed out to a joint project with the Ministry of Education under the title of “Archive Lovers” which aimed at sensitizing school students and increasing cooperation among them in this field.
The event followed by panel discussions and presentation of 16 papers.
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