2020 World Forum for Intangible Cultural Heritage: “Human, Nature, and Intangible Cultural Heritage”

2020 World Forum for Intangible Cultural Heritage Banner image © ICHCAP

The 「2020 World Forum for Intangible Cultural Heritage」 hosted by the National Intangible Heritage Center (Director Yeon-Soo Kim) and organized by UNESCO ICHCAP (Diretor-General Gi Hyung Keum) is to be held online for three days from September 23 to September 25, with global environmental and intangible cultural heritage experts gathering in one place.

The forum of this year is gathering about 20 experts from 12 countries around the world under the theme of “Human, Nature and Intangible Cultural Heritage” to the relationship between human and nature and discuss the directions for the intangible cultural heritage. In particular, this forum is expected to be an opportunity to re-examine the value of intangible cultural heritage in the face of the global COVID-19 pandemic and climate change crisis.

The first day, September 23, marks the start of the forum with a keynote speech by Mr. Ottone Ernesto-Ramirez (Assistant Director-General for Culture of UNESCO). Mr. Ottone will introduce UNESCO’s policy of intangible cultural heritage to redefine the relationship between human and nature. Following that, Professor Buhm-Soon Park from the KAIST Center for Anthropocene Studies will provide an opportunity to take a peek at the potentials of intangible cultural heritage, while delivering the message of climate change and ecosystem crisis to humanity. In addition, through examples such as agroforestry in Micronesia, management of avalanche risk in Switzerland, and through the field called ecological humanities containing the culture of the indigenous locals, he will try to find the wisdom of coexistence between mankind and nature by looking at the intangible cultural heritage.

On September 24, Mr. Jae-Chun Choe, an ecologist and chair professor at Ewha Womans University, will open the second day of the forum with a special lecture on the future of humanity and ecological transformation. In the following order, particular cases of overcoming the crisis with human intangible cultural heritage are going to be presented more specifically. Various examples, such as the cases of preserving biodiversity using the intangible cultural heritage of local indigenous knowledge, the methods of disaster reduction management in the Himalayas of India, and the efforts of the international community to restore the marine ecosystem while respecting the cultural style of indigenous people, are to be examined.

On the last day, September 25, the three-day journey is to be wrapped up by examining the future and hope for intangible cultural heritage within the boundaries of various communities, environmental ethics, international environmental law, and national policy. In particular, Dr. Michael Mason, Director of the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage (CFCH), through special lectures, emphasizes the central role of indigenous peoples and local communities in realizing the environmental sustainability of intangible cultural heritage. Additionally, by using the voices of the students from Korea National University of Cultural Heritage, we prepared an opportunity to listen to the stories of the young Koreans about their dreams and expectations for the future of the intangible cultural heritage.

This forum is to be held in the form of non-face-to-face online meetings and be broadcast live on YouTube and Naver TV channels. It will also be broadcast in real-time on the forum portal site (https://ICHworldforum.org), and later at MBC in Jeonju.

Anyone interested in the forum topic can participate in the 「2020 World Forum for Intangible Cultural Heritage」. You can apply online at the forum portal site (https://ICHworldforum.org). For more information, please contact the forum secretariat (063-230-9746).

● Translated by Zhansulu Issayeva