Cultural Heritage International Workshop
Technology and psychology are aligning themselves increasingly with a host of material and non-material resources to promote hatred and intolerance of “the other” and to incite violent conflict.
Peace educators and peace builders are seeking out new resources, for example; from religion and spiritual heritage, in their efforts to build sustainable peace. Culture and cultural heritage are important, if under-utilized, resources for peace-building.
Culture has been defined in many different ways to refer to as the quality in a person or society that arises from a concern for what is regarded as excellent in arts, letters, manners, scholarly pursuits, etc; as a particular civilization of a certain people or period, such as the Indus Valley Civilization or as the practices and beliefs characteristic of a particular social, ethnic, or age group, such as youth culture or drug culture.
For our present purpose, culture is defined as the shared patterns of behavior and interactions, cognitive constructs and affective understanding that are learned through a process of socialization. These shared patterns identify the members of a culture group while also distinguishing those of another group.
Culture is important because it is what makes a society unique. Cross-cultural understanding provides a basis for people to relate to and understand each other. The more understanding and knowledge we have of other cultures, the better we can communicate and grow.
It is becoming clear that in order to build communities that are successful at improving conditions and resolving problems, we need to understand and appreciate many cultures, establish relationships with people from cultures other than our own and build strong alliances among different cultural groups.
Cultural heritage is the legacy of physical artifacts and intangible attributes of a group that are inherited from past generations, maintained in the present and bestowed for the benefit of future generations.
Cultural heritage includes:
- Tangible culture such as buildings, monuments, landscapes, books, works of art and artifacts.
- Intangible culture such as folklore, traditions, language and knowledge.
- Natural heritage, including culturally significant landscapes and biodiversity.
The sites of cultural heritage inspire people to learn and unite in appreciating the creativity of their ancestors. However many of these were lost under colonial rule. The territorial divisions inherited from the colonial era have deprived people of joint inheritance of such heritage and symbols of civilization.
In absence of such heritage, it is hard for new generations to understand the creation of civilization. Meanwhile, harmony and conflict are inherent and co-exist in societies, philosophers, religious leaders and social scientists, who play important roles as pathfinders, peace-makers and peace-builders.
In this conflict-ridden world, religious scholars and social scientists are engaged in a search for the most effective medium through which peace education can be imparted and the possibilities of peace-building can be created.
The question is can cultural heritage still play an effective role for peace education and peace-building? How can peace workers acquire skills to interpret and apply cultural heritage as a tool for peace education? How can we build awareness among the people for the protection of cultural heritage? An International Workshop is proposed to address such questions.
- To understand the role of cultural heritage as a tool for peace education.
- To build awareness among peace workers and impart skills to interpret and communicate on issues related to cultural heritage.
- To facilitate an exposure visit to select sites of cultural heritage and gain practical knowledge through such exposure visit.
- To promote a network among young scholars and peace workers who are engaged in promoting cultural heritage as a resource for peacemaking and peace-building.
Participants: Will be drawn from lecturers and students of archeology, peace studies, human rights; NGO staff members; engaged journalists and other media staff members.
Draft Agenda for a three-day workshop:
- Defining culture heritage from people’s own lived realities.
- The Role of Cultural Heritage in “armed conflict” and in “natural disasters” both as a target of the armed conflict and as a resource for peace-building.
- Methods for increasing awareness in local communities of the value of culture heritage.
- Culture heritage as part of identity.
- Identity and Unity in cultural diversity.
- Towards a different kind of Convention related to preserve culture heritage.
It should be a two-day trip to a city having many different archeological sites, museums reflecting the diversity in the nation but finding unity in their culture heritage.