Youth Involvement Given Focus at the 2021 Southeast Asian Collaborative Meeting on Safeguarding Intangible Cultural Heritage


Intangible cultural heritage (ICH) provides meaningful linkages between one generation and another, between social groups, and between countries. To ensure the viability of ICH, youth participation and practices that enunciate the voices of young people cannot be overstated. For ICH assets to survive through evolution, older generations must provide young people with opportunities to understand what intangible cultural heritage is, why it needs to be safeguarded, and how they can transmit it in the future. ICH is not only limited to the safeguarding of certain elements but extends to other important aspects such as the identities of representative communities and a medium for well-being. Therefore, youth involvement in safeguarding ICH extends beyond heritage protection, providing opportunities for creative and economic development. In thinking about youths and future generations and in the spirit of UNESCO 2003 Convention, ICHCAP and the Singapore National Heritage Board (NHB) are co-hosting the 2021 Southeast Asian Collaborative Meeting on Safeguarding Intangible Cultural Heritage. Centered on the theme, ‘The Role of Youths in Safeguarding Intangible Cultural Heritage’, the meeting will be held online from 30 August to 1 September 2021.

The Meeting consists of two events: an open symposium (30-31 August) and a working-level meeting (1 September). During the open symposium, ICH experts and practitioners from Southeast Asian countries will present relevant case studies. At the meeting, Ms. Moe Chiba, Head of Culture Unit from the UNESCO Jakarta Office and Professor Lily Kong the President of the Singapore Management University will give keynote presentations on the role of youths in safeguarding ICH, and the significance of youth leadership and engagement in ICH.

On the first day of the open symposium, Ms. Krupa Rajangam of SAYTHU (India), Ms. Thi My Hoa Do of the Foundation for International Development/ Relief (Vietnam), Ms. Syafiqah ‘Adha Sallehin of Gendeng Akustika (Singapore), and Mr. Song Seng from Cambodian Living Arts (Cambodia) will share case studies and discuss how to harness youth potential in crafts and performing arts.

On the second day, Dr. Zi Siang See of The University of Newcastle (Australia), Dr. Ivan Liu of the Legacy Lab International (Taiwan), Mr. Jervais Choo of the Organization Design and Innovation Division, National Heritage Board (Singapore), and Dr. Jungmin Yu of the Korea National University of Cultural Heritage (Republic of Korea) will discuss the impact of technology and the digital medium on youth and how they may be leveraged in the safeguarding of ICH.

On the third day, a working-level meeting will be held for discussions on project development, with invited participants from Southeast Asian Member States along with representatives from the UNESCO Regional Offices and NGOs who are involved in policy-making or field activities relating to ICH, as well as observers from various cultural and educational institutions. Particularly, the working-level meeting is a space for dialogue on production and dissemination of ICH information, as well as the importance of building networks for the promotion of ICH as a valuable instrument for sustainable development. As a specific plan of action, it is hoped that the meeting will result in new collaborative projects among ICH stakeholders for networking and capacity-building.

At the working-level meeting, ICHCAP will make a proposal for a new project to enhance youth engagement in ICH. The project will be launched with a ‘ICH Youth Forum’. The ICHCAP presentation will provide the background of the proposal as well as the mid- and long-term plans.
It is hoped that the ICH network in Southeast Asia will be strengthened and expanded by sharing the issues around ICH in the region, and deepening our understanding of relevant national and regional needs. For more information, please follow the link :