November 15, 2014, marks the official announcement of the design competition to build the new Bamiyan Cultural Centre in Afghanistan. UNESCO, together with the Government of Afghanistan, decided to select the design of the Cultural Centre through an open international competition. The competition will generate interest in the project and ensure that the winning design is both iconic and also commensurate with the worldwide significance of the site itself. Proposals are welcome from qualified and experienced applicants with a vision for sharing the importance of cultural identity of Afghanistan from the past, present and into the future.
UNESCO believes that culture represents an essential element of nation building in every country, and has an important role to play in Afghanistan. Culture makes a valuable contribution to socio-economic development, and in the case of Bamiyan, it paves the way towards future tourism opportunities and the participation of local communities, in not only protecting and preserving their cultural heritage, but also in sharing it. The Bamiyan Cultural Centre will support artistic and cultural processes, using the institution as a platform to connect the public with Afghan cultural traditions and practices. The space will host permanent and temporary exhibitions, with the overall aim of promoting cross-cultural understanding and heritage safeguarding through education, training, research, lectures and performance events.
This competition has been announced through national and international media outlets as well as the UNESCO Kabul Website. A worldwide outreach campaign will invite architects, engineers and students from around the world to submit a design proposal for the Centre. It is especially important to encourage the people of Afghanistan to participate.
The realization of this project within its designated land in one of the most prominent sites overlooking the Buddha Cliffs was made possible by the support of the Bamiyan Governor and Mayor, the Ministry of Information and Culture, the Ministry of Agriculture and the people of Bamiyan. This project of public significance is near to the UNESCO World Heritage property of Bamiyan which has outstanding universal value.
We would like to thank all our stakeholders and partners who are involved in the protection and preservation of the UNESCO World Heritage site of the Cultural Landscape and Archaeological Remains of the Bamiyan Valley and in particular the Government of the Republic of Korea for providing the funding for such project. Activities will include design and construction of the Centre, cultural mapping of heritage resources, conservation and restoration, capacity training, and raising heritage awareness through public education. The Cultural Centre will open new horizons for local residents and all Afghans; our hope is that this building helps people move beyond conflict, to reclaim their shared heritage and to step towards building a peaceful future.