Building peace in the minds of men and women

Mongolian calligraphy and the Empaako tradition of Uganda inscribed on UNESCO’s List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding

The Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of Intangible Heritage, holding its 8th session in Baku until 7 December, today inscribed two new elements from Mongolia and Uganda on the List of Intangible Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding.

The inscription of elements on the Urgent List helps States Parties to UNESCO’s Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Heritage to mobilize international cooperation and assistance to ensure the transmission of this heritage with the participation of the concerned communities.


            The new elements are listed below in chronological order of inscription. The links  lead to web pages with information, pictures and videos.


Mongolian calligraphy


            Mongolian calligraphy is the technique of handwriting in the Classical Mongolian script, which comprises 90 letters connected vertically by continuous strokes to create words. After decades of suppression, Mongolian calligraphy has experienced a rebirth since the country’s democratization in the 1990s. Traditionally, mentors select the best students and train them to be calligraphers over a period of five to eight years. At present, only three middle-aged scholars voluntarily train the small community of just over twenty young calligraphers.


Empaako tradition of the Batooro, Banyoro, Batuku, Batagwenda and Banyabindi of western Uganda


            Empaako is a naming system practised by communities in Uganda, where children receive one of twelve names shared across the communities during a ceremony presided over by the clan head and relatives. Addressing a person by her or his Empaako name is an affirmation of social identity and unity and a declaration of affection, respect, honour or love, which can defuse tension. The transmission of Empaako has dropped dramatically due to a general decline in appreciation of traditional culture.


            Later today, the Committee will begin examining candidatures for inscription of the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity




Picture gallery (updated to include new inscriptions):




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