Asia-Pacific Youth ICH Storytelling Contest Award Ceremonies Held

Christian Manhart, the head of the UNESCO Kathmandu office, and the participants of the award ceremony including the winners ©UNESCO Kathmandu office

Award ceremonies were held for the winners of the 2019 Asia-Pacific Youth ICH Storytelling Contest in India, Nepal, and Korea.

ICHCAP announced twenty-nine winning entries in two categories (Young Practitioners and General Youth) in December 2019. Applicants from nineteen countries submitted their creations for the contest, and the winners came from ten countries, including India, Vietnam, Nepal, China, and Bangladesh.

Indian award winners and Kum-pyoung Kim, the director of the Korea Cultural Center where the award ceremony in India was held © Korea Cultural Centre in India

India produced a number of winners including the Grand Prize winner in the Young Practitioners category. The Korean Cultural Center in India held the award ceremony on behalf of ICHCAP on 29 January 2020. The ceremony, hosted by Kum-pyoung Kim, director of the center, was attended by Moushumi Choudhury (Grand Prize), who shared her story of becoming a traditional chau dance, a predominantly male dance in India; Saurabh Narang (Excellence Prize), who dealt with traditional dance of the Siddi; and, Munipalli Goutham (Distinction Prize), who talked about the Bonalu festival of Hindus. The winners gave their remarks after they received certificates and prizes from Director Kim. Goutham said, “Other prize winning entries about traditional culture gave me inspirations for my work… It was a meaningful time to meet with other winners at this ceremony.” Narang said, “The contest was a great platform for youth to take an interest in intangible cultural heritage.”

In Korea, the award ceremony took place on 28 January 2020 at ICHCAP in Jeonju, which was hosted by ICHCAP Director-General Gi Hyung Keum. The only Korean winner Hwadam Kwon (Special Prize) attended the event. Kwon, who has been engaged in preserving taekkyeon (a traditional Korean martial art) in college, submitted a video to express her thoughts about the reason for practicing taekkyeon and the future of the martial art in a form of dialogue with her friends. In her video titled ‘Bruise of Glory’, she said, “People say that taekkyeon is one of the traditional cultures that are dying out and ask me what I would do if it disappeared… I think that all the taekkyeon training that I do now is helping to keep the martial art alive.”

In Nepal that produced five winners, the UNESCO Kathmandu Office organized the award ceremony on 12 March 2020. The event, hosted by Christian Manhart, head of the office, was also joined by members of the Nepalese Ministry of Culture and the Nepal National Commission for UNESCO. The winners, including Alina Tamrakar (Excellence Prize), Maya Rai (Distinction Prize), Deepak Tolange (Special Prize), Rija Joshi (Participation Prize), and Monalisa Maharjan (Participation Prize) discussed the various themes of the winning works, including a traditional devotional music now open to women, endangered indigenous languages, and sewing and women’s self-reliance. Alina Tamrakar said, “It is a major affirmation that wealth of knowledge, skill, and the accomplishments of ancestors are being passed down to children and grandchildren.”

Award Ceremony Banner in Nepal for the 2019 Asia-Pacific Youth ICH Storytelling Contest ©UNESCO Kathmandu Office

Some countries including Vietnam, Bangladesh, Singapore, and China were unable to hold awards ceremonies amid the widespread outbreak of Covid-19, so the awards and prizes were delivered directly to the winners. The online exhibition of the prize-winning entries will launch in March on the e-Knowledge Center website, and the interviews the winners are available on ICH Courier. Articles regarding the award ceremony in Nepal are available on the UNESCO Kathmandu Office.