Building peace in the minds of men and women

World Day for Audiovisual Heritage

27 October

Audiovisual archives tell us stories about people’s lives and cultures from all over the world. They represent a priceless heritage which is an affirmation of our collective memory and a valuable source of knowledge since they reflect the cultural, social and linguistic diversity of our communities. They help us grow and comprehend the world we all share. Conserving this heritage and ensuring it remains accessible to the public and future generations is a vital goal for all memory institutions as well as the public at large. The UNESCO Archives has launched the project ‘Digitizing our shared UNESCO history with this very goal in mind.

The World Day for Audiovisual Heritage (WDAH) is a commemoration of the adoption, in 1980 by the 21st General Conference, of the Recommendation for the Safeguarding and Preservation of Moving Images. The World Day provides an occasion to raise general awareness of the need to take urgent measures and to acknowledge the importance of audiovisual documents.

In this way, the World Day also serves as an opportunity for UNESCO’s Member States to evaluate their performance with respect to implementing the 2015 Recommendation Concerning the Preservation of, and Access to, Documentary Heritage, Including in Digital Form.

The WDAH fulfils UNESCO’s constitutional mandate to promote the "free flow of ideas by word and image" as a representation of our shared heritage and memory.  In so doing, the Day highlights the role of heritage in building the defenses of peace in people’s minds.

Message from the Director-General

"Audiovisual heritage is a significant part of our cultural heritage. Images and sounds, recorded on film, videotape and audiotape, bring our past to life and establish in our collective memory events, scenes and situations that, without these media, would fade from our memories or only subsist in a motionless, disembodied form."

— Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO
on the occasion of the World Day for Audiovisual Heritage 2018


Download the full message in PDF format
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In 2018, the theme is Your story is moving!

This theme allows for plenty of scope for a wide variety of activities based on stories that are preserved in audiovisual archives -- people’s stories or narratives that enable heritage to be passed on to the next generation. At the same time, the theme also invokes the emotional connections and meanings people may derive from appreciating audiovisual heritage. It enlivens such heritage as a shared story binding people in a common humanity, moving them, so to speak, to higher levels of understanding of and respect for the other.