The Secretariat of the National Committee for the UNESCO Memory of the World Program, headquartered in the International Affairs Department of the NLAI, has been engaged in extensive activities during the current year to promote the objectives of the UNESCO Program in Iran. The UNESCO Program, launched in 1992, was geared to safeguarding the documentary heritage of humanity against collective amnesia, neglect, the ravages of time and climatic conditions, and willful and deliberate destruction. The Program has since endeavored to encourage and promote enhanced preservation of and access to documentary heritage through raising global public awareness of the significance of such a heritage in safeguarding the civilization and culture of nations.
The Program has played a catalytic role in drawing attention to the significance of this heritage through registering recognized documentary heritage of the world in global, regional, and national lists. Iran Joined the Program in 2007 and has so far managed to register 11 works in the global list, 4 works in the regional list, and over 50 works in the national list. In organizing training workshops in various provinces across the country, the Secretariat has endeavored in its outreach activities to highlight the importance of conservation and accessibility of documents, manuscripts and historical texts for the concerned institutions, groups, entities, and citizens across the country. Thus far in the year, four training workshops have been held in the Provinces of Fars, Hamedan, Kurdistan, and Lorestan.
In these workshops, attended by interested librarians, museum experts, scholars of history and archeology, and collection holders, the members of the National Committee address a range of relevant themes and issues. They include: the importance of recognizing and preserving the documentary heritage, especially the hidden documentary heritage at the risk of destruction; education of the methods of preservation of heritage; development of the relevant criteria for identification, recognition and preservation; and accessibility of the preserved heritage. The training workshops in provinces have also served the purpose of providing the members of the National Committee with the opportunity of close and on-site familiarity with the provincial libraries and their respective collections as well as with the actual conditions of preservation of documents and manuscripts.
In light of the National Committee’s oversight function in Iran with regard to the UNESCO Memory of the World Program, the Committee has held joint meetings with the experts from Golestan Palace Museum, Malek National Museum and Library (associated with the Foreign Ministry), and Shahid Motahhari School on the state of conservation of the works already registered with the UNESCO Program. The Baysonghor Shahnameh, Khamseh of Nezami, Jami’ al-Tawarikh, and Zakhireye Khwarazmshahi are the works registered in the UNESCO global list and kept in these centers.
In pursuance of its current activities, the Secretariat of the National Committee is planning to hold similar training workshops during the coming months in the Provinces of Sistan and Baluchistan, Mazandaran, and Ilam, as well as in such important centers in the field of documentary heritage as Ministry of Petroleum, Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance, and the Office of Charities and Religious Endowments.