NLAI Workshops on UNESCO’s Memory of the World Program

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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.

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