National Museum to send proposal for including palm leaf scroll etching as UNESCO cultural heritage: KM Khalid
State Minister for Cultural Affairs KM Khalid on Friday said that the tradition of palm leaf scroll painting and etching can be included as UNESCO's Intangible Cultural Heritage and Bangladesh’s National Museum will send proposals in this regard to the global organisation. “Painting and writing on palm leaves is a unique artistic craft and is the first of its kind in Bangladesh. The renowned Bangladeshi artist Afrozaa Jamil Konka — the second daughter of the valiant hero Shaheed Col Jamil who sacrificed his life to save the Father of the Nation and his family — has decorated and designed the palm leaf scrolls based on the long poem 'Bangalir Porichoy Kabbo' by the France-based Bengali playwright Choyon Khairul Habib, symbolizing the various chapters of Bangabandhu's revolutionary life and the historical episodes of the nation. We will send an official proposal to UNESCO for including this procedure as part of its Intangible Cultural Heritage,” the state minister said. The state minister shared his remarks as the chief guest at the inauguration ceremony of an exclusive exhibition based on the unique project titled “Bangalir Porichoy Kabbo”, an epic verse engraved on ‘Taal Patar Puthi’ (manuscript on palm leaves) at the Nalini Kanta Bhattashali Gallery of the National Museum, Shahbagh in the capital. Bangladesh National Museum Director General Md Kamruzzaman, eminent artist Prof Hashem Khan, and Dhaka University Faculty of Fine Arts Dean Prof Nisar Hossain spoke as special guests while the welcome remarks were shared by Choyon Khairul Habib and artist Afrozaa Jamil Konka. “We all know that the palm leaf has multiple uses and the hand fans made with the leaves have been our lifelong companions before the availability of electric fans. The palm leaf scroll which we call ‘Puthi’ in Bengali, has been a great heritage element in our culture and my gratitude goes to Habib for such a wonderful poem on Bangabandhu and Konka for her majestic artistry,” Khalid said. The engraving artist for the project was Prashant Maharana, a craftsman from the state of Odisha, India. The state minister conveyed his heartfelt thanks and congratulations to Shaheed Colonel Jamil Foundation for taking this great initiative. Choyon Khairul Habib, poet-playwright and the author of “Bangalir Porichoy Kabbo” shared the background story of this epic poem-turned-puthi, saying: “I have highlighted the history of Bangladesh, the evolution of the Bengali community and the nationality alongside the symbolic narrative of Bangabandhu in this poem.” “Since I started writing ‘Bangalir Porichoy Kabbo’, the incentive to preserve the work with palm leaf puthi was in my plan, and the very first person I thought of regarding the illustration was none other than Afrozaa Jamil Konka due to her connection to Bangabandhu through her great patriot father, Shaheed Colonel Jamil, and I can proudly say she did justice to the project.”
The same day (March 23, 2023) that Italy submitted pasta carbonara for inclusion on Unesco’s list of Intangible Cultural Heritage, the Financial Times published an article in which Italian culinary expert Alberto Grandi claimed that carbonara was developed by Americans residing in Italy shortly after WWII. The claim sparked outrage throughout Italy. “A surrealist attack!” – said the agriculture organisation Coldiretti, as heated social media discussion ensued nationwide, according to a BBC article. So who really created the original carbonara? Italian food author Eleonora Cozzella says, “It was a combination of Italian genius and American resources.” Cozzella spent six years covering National Carbonara Day on April 6, and eventually wrote The Perfect Carbonara, which earned a Gourmand World Cookbook Award in 2020, says the BBC. Read More: Activists target Salt Bae’s upscale London steakhouse She interviewed the descendants of innkeepers who fed American soldiers in the neighborhood of Trastevere, just over the Tiber river in Rome, in the late 1940s. US soldiers apparently asked for “spaghetti breakfast” that should have eggs and bacon. Even during the desperate times, Italians could acquire military rations in the black market, including bacon from Americans and egg powder from the British. In 1952, the first recipe for pasta carbonara was published in the United States. Author Patricia Bronté mentioned the Italian restaurant Armando’s, run by chefs Pietro Lencioni and Armando Lorenzini, among her favorite spots in her book “Vittles and Vice: An Incredible Guide to What’s Cooking on Chicago’s Near North Side”. She included recipe of the restaurant’s famous dish, carbonara. “No one has a trademark on the recipe,” Alessandro Pipero, chef of the Michelin-starred restaurant Pipero in Rome and one of the “carbonara kings” told BBC. “Honestly, I don’t care who invented it,” he said. The first Italian recipe for carbonara was published in August 1954 in La Cucina Italiana magazine. “And it is a strange one,” Cozzella said in the BBC report. “It has parsley and even gruyere as cheese!” Read More: Homemade Ice Cream Recipes Using Seasonal Fruits for This Summer “This debate is ridiculous and dangerous,” said Michele Fino, a law professor at Pollenzo's University of Gastronomic Sciences, calling it “old news”. According to Fino, the discussion is harmful because a toxic type of nationalism may be lurking between the pecorino and a piece of guanciale, or maybe deep inside the tubular rigatoni. “It is a sort of banal nationalism that runs through food,” he told BBC. “People consider it unimportant, but it creates a certain climate – we shouldn’t ignore it.”
The UNESCO-Bangladesh Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman International Prize is promoting creative economy globally, said Bangladesh Deputy High Commissioner in Karachi SM Mahbubul Alam recently. Mahbubul was speaking at the seminar "Unlocking the Creative Economy" organised by the Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) and the Islamic Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture (ICCIA) in Karachi on February 28. Read: Japanese Ambassador joins KWE’s Bangladesh operations launching prog FPCCI President Irfan Iqbal Sheikh, diplomats of OIC countries, including consuls general of Indonesia and Malaysia, other diplomats from the Consulate General of Iran and Türkiye, ICCIA Secretary General Yusuf Hasan Khalawi, Advisor to the Director General of ICESCO Ahmed Said Bah, eco-system enablers, entrepreneurs, and business leaders, including talented women and promising young entrepreneurs were also present. Mahbubul said today, culture and creativity account for 3.1 percent of the global gross domestic product (GDP) and 6.2 percent of all employment in the world. "The cultural and creative economy contributes $2.2 trillion to the global economy and creates employment opportunities to over 30 million people globally, including the OIC countries."
The United Nations’ educational, scientific and cultural agency chief on Wednesday called for a global dialogue to find ways to regulate social media companies and limit their role in the spreading of misinformation around the world. Audrey Azoulay, the director general of UNESCO, addressed a gathering of lawmakers, journalists and civil societies from around the world to discuss ways to regulate social media platforms such as Twitter and others to help make the internet a safer, fact-based space. The two-day conference in Paris aims to formulate guidelines that would help regulators, governments and businesses manage content that undermines democracy and human rights, while supporting freedom of expression and promoting access to accurate and reliable information. The global dialogue should provide the legal tools and principles of accountability and responsibility for social media companies to contribute to the “public good,” Azoulay said in an interview with The Associated Press on the sidelines of the conference. She added: “It would limit the risks that we see today, that we live today, disinformation (and) conspiracy theories spreading faster than the truth.” The European Union last year passed landmark legislation that will compel big tech companies like Google and Facebook parent Meta to police their platforms more strictly to protect European users from hate speech, disinformation and harmful content. The Digital Services Act is one of the EU’s three significant laws targeting the tech industry. In the United States, the Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission have filed major antitrust actions against Google and Facebook, although Congress remains politically divided on efforts to address online disinformation, competition, privacy and more. Filipino journalist and Nobel laureate Maria Ressa told participants in the Paris conference that putting laws into place that would prevent social media companies from “proliferating misinformation on their platforms” is long overdue. Ressa is a longtime critic of social media platforms that she said have put “democracy at risk” and distracted societies from solving problems such climate change and the rise of authoritarianism around the world. By “insidiously manipulating people at the scale that’s happening now, ... (they have) changed our values and it has rippled to cascading failure,” Ressa told the AP in an interview on Wednesday. “If you don’t have a set of shared facts, how do we deal with climate change?” Ressa said. “If everything is debatable, if trust is destroyed (there’s no) meaningful exchange.” She added: “Just a reminder, democracy is not just about talking. It’s about listening. It’s about finding compromises that are impossible in the world of technology today.”
Australia’s environment minister said Tuesday her government will lobby against UNESCO adding the Great Barrier Reef to a list of endangered World Heritage sites. Officials from the U.N. cultural agency and the International Union for Conservation of Nature released a report on Monday warning that without “ambitious, rapid and sustained” climate action, the world’s largest coral reef is in peril. The report, which recommended shifting the Great Barrier Reef to endangered status, followed a 10-day mission in March to the famed reef system off Australia’s northeast coast that was added to the World Heritage list in 1981. Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek said the report was a reflection on Australia’s previous conservative government, which was voted out of office in May elections after nine years in power. She said the new center-left Labor Party government has already addressed several of the report’s concerns, including action on climate change. “We’ll very clearly make the point to UNESCO that there is no need to single the Great Barrier Reef out in this way" with an endangered listing, Plibersek told reporters. read more: Coral reefs' survival at stake: Unesco “The reason that UNESCO in the past has singled out a place as at risk is because they wanted to see greater government investment or greater government action and, since the change of government, both of those things have happened,” she added. The new government has legislated to commit Australia to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 43% below the 2005 level by 2030. The previous government only committed to a reduction of 26% to 28% by the end of the decade. Plibersek said her government has also committed 1.2 billion Australian dollars ($798 million) to caring for the reef and has canceled the previous government’s plans to build two major dams in Queensland state that would have affected the reef’s water quality. “If the Great Barrier Reef is in danger, then every coral reef in the world is in danger,” Plibersek said. “If this World Heritage site is in danger, then most World Heritage sites around the world are in danger from climate change.” The report said Australia’s federal government and Queensland authorities should adopt more ambitious emission reduction targets in line with international efforts to limit future warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) since pre-industrial times. Read more: Great Barrier Reef enters crucial period in coral bleaching The minor Greens party, which wants Australia to slash its emissions by 75% by the end of the decade, called for the government to do more to fight climate change in light of the report. Jodie Rummer, a marine biologist at James Cook University in Townville who has worked on the reef for more than a decade, supported calls for Australia to aim for a 75% emissions reduction. “We are taking action, but that action needs to be much more rapid and much more urgent,” Rummer told Australian Broadcasting Corp. “We cannot claim to be doing all we can for the reef at this point. We aren’t. We need to be sending that message to the rest of the world that we are doing everything that we possibly can for the reef and that means we need to take urgent action on emissions immediately,” she added. Feedback from Australian officials, both at the federal and state level, will be reviewed before Paris-based UNESCO makes any official proposal to the World Heritage committee. In July last year, the previous Australian government garnered enough international support to defer an attempt by UNESCO to downgrade the reef’s status to “in danger” because of damage caused by climate change. The Great Barrier Reef accounts for around 10% of the world’s coral reef ecosystems. The network of more than 2,500 reefs covers 348,000 square kilometers (134,000 square miles). Australian government scientists reported in May that more than 90% of Great Barrier Reef coral surveyed in the latest year was bleached, in the fourth such mass event in seven years. Bleaching is caused by global warming, but this is the reef’s first bleaching event during a La Niña weather pattern, which is associated with cooler Pacific Ocean temperatures, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Authority said in its annual report. Bleaching in 2016, 2017 and 2020 damaged two-thirds of the coral. Coral bleaches as a response to heat stress and scientists hope most of the coral will recover from the latest event.
Some of the world's most iconic glaciers are set to vanish by 2050 due to carbon emissions warming the planet, said a new study by UNESCO. Fifty UNESCO World Heritage sites are home to glaciers, representing about 10 percent of the world's glacier areas, including some of the world's best-known glaciers. They include the highest (next to Mount Everest), the longest (in Alaska), and the last remaining glaciers in Africa. Glaciers in a third of sites are under threat. However, UNESCO said, the rest can still be saved if global temperatures do not exceed 1.5 degrees Celsius compared with pre-industrial times. The UNESCO study shows that these glaciers have been retreating at an accelerated rate since 2000 due to CO2 emissions. World Heritage glaciers lose on average some 58 billion tons of ice every year – equivalent to the total annual volume of water used in France and Spain together – and are responsible for nearly five percent of observed global sea-level rise. The glaciers under threat are in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, North America and Oceania. "Only a rapid reduction in our CO2 emissions levels can save glaciers and the exceptional biodiversity that depends on them. COP27 will have a crucial role to help find solutions to this issue," UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay said. Also, UNESCO is advocating for the creation of a new international fund for glacier monitoring and preservation – such a fund would support comprehensive research, promote exchange networks between all stakeholders and implement early warning and disaster risk reduction measures. Read more: Melting ice imperils 98% of Emperor penguin colonies by 2100 Half of humanity depends directly or indirectly on glaciers as their water source for domestic use, agriculture, and power. Glaciers are also pillars of biodiversity, feeding many ecosystems. "When glaciers melt rapidly, millions of people face water scarcity and the increased risk of natural disasters such as flooding, and millions more may be displaced by the resulting rise in sea levels," said International Union for Conservation of Nature Director General Bruno Oberle.
Bangladesh's initiative to encourage a culture of innovation by instituting the UNESCO-Bangladesh Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman International Award earned plaudits recently, at the UNESCO World Conference on Cultural Policies and Sustainable Development, or Mondiacult 2022, held in Mexico, The final declaration got adopted by the world leaders who agreed to establish an innovation economy, among other things. Organized with the global goal of establishing the role of culture in sustainable development, this international conference was attended by 136 cultural affairs ministers and state minister level leaders, diplomats, cultural activists, organizers and civil society individuals from 150 countries of the world. A delegation of 3 members led by Bangladesh's State Minister for Cultural Affairs KM Khalid, Ambassador of Bangladesh to France and UNESCO Khandaker M Talha and First Secretary Md. Walid bin Kashem participated in the conference. At the conference, Khalid was invited to share his speech at the 'Future of Innovation Economy' Minister-level round table meeting, he thanked UNESCO for formulating the 'UNESCO-Bangladesh Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman International Award' in the innovation economy sector in 2020. “The innovation economy will play a role as a renewable regulator in the implementation of sustainable development goals and will play an effective role in protecting neglected cultural heritage in different parts of the world,” KM Khalid said at the meeting. Read: Bangladesh elected to UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage committee for 4 years He also called for cooperation among international leaders to develop a culture that is safe, accountable, and controlled. A proposal has been made for the teaching of culture in educational institutions as a response to the conference's identification of education and culture as complementary to one another. Additionally, in order to meet the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, all nations are urged to develop cultural policies and update them as needed. In Bangladesh, the National Culture Policy was formulated in 2006 and is currently undergoing modernization. Mondiacult 2022 was organized by UNESCO as a continuation of the detailed action plan conducted globally to implement the Sustainable Development Goals adopted by the United Nations in 2015. The last international cultural conference of this scale was held in Mexico in 1982.
Tourist spots in the country’s southern districts, including the Sundarbans and the historic Shat Gombuj Mosque, are seeing sizeable flow of tourists as travelling has become easy after Padma Bridge opened. The Forest Department is going to open four more eco-tourism centres in the Sundarbans to manage the growing number of tourists. Muhammad Belayet Hossain, divisional forest officer of Sundarbans East Zone, said the mangrove forest is seeing a sharp rise in the number of tourists after the inauguration of Padma Bridge. Read: Sundarbans reopens to tourists, fishermen after 3 months Four new eco-tourism centres are being set up in Alibanda, Andharmanik, Shekhertek and Kalabagi to handle the growing tourist flow. There are already seven eco-tourism centres at Karamjal, Herbaria, Kalagachia, Katka, Kochikhali, Dubla and Heron Point for tourists visiting the Sundarbans. Tourists can visit the three centres in Karamjal, Herbaria and Kalagachia with a fixed entry fee and they have to return within the day. Read “RAB freed Sundarbans from robbers and inspired a quality film”
Bangladesh has been elected to UNESCO's Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) for four years, according to the Ministry of Cultural Affairs. The country was elected to the Intergovernmental Committee of UNESCO 2003 Convention for Safeguarding of the ICH for the 2022-2026 cycle. This is the first time that Bangladesh has been elected to the Intergovernmental Committee formed under the 2009 Convention, said Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen Thursday. The elections for the committee took place during the 9th General Assembly of the 2003 Convention held at UNESCO headquarters in France's Paris during July 5-7. Read: Coral reefs' survival at stake: Unesco Against the four seats falling vacant within the Asia-Pacific group, Bangladesh, India, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, and Thailand presented their candidature. Apart from Bangladesh, India, Vietnam and Malaysia were also elected as members of the committee. In 2020, Bangladesh's Ministry of Cultural Affairs decided to contest this election and it was informed to the UNESCO authorities through the Bangladesh Embassy in Paris. The Intergovernmental Committee of the 2003 Convention consists of 24 members and is elected in the General Assembly of the Convention according to the principles of equitable geographical representation and rotation. States members of the committee are elected for four years.
After a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, Dhaka University is all set to welcome the Bengali New Year 1429 with the vibrancy and festivity usually associated with Pahela Baishakh on April 14 (Thursday). Regarded as the educational and socio-cultural hub of the country, Dhaka University and its Faculty of Fine Arts (FFA), better known as Charukala, are preparing to observe this year’s Pahela Baishakh for the last couple of weeks. As this year’s Pahela Baishakh is knocking on the door to be celebrated with great enthusiasm after an unfortunate two-year break with restrictions on public gatherings and celebrations of public programmes in 2020 and 2021, this year the DU authority alongside its teachers and students has geared up to welcome the return of the festivities in the campus arena. Also read:Pahela Baishakh celebrations must end by 2 pm: DMP Commissioner Traditionally, every year Dhaka University celebrates this national function with festive traits by arranging different sorts of functions including the colourful procession called the “Mangal Shobhajatra” (March of Good Tidings). The flagship procession was inscribed on UNESCO's Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2016.