An “Expert Meeting on the Development of an Interactive Atlas of Cultural Interactions along the Silk Roads” was organized by UNESCO’s Silk Roads Online Platform in Beijing, China from May 31st to June 1st, 2017. It brought together around 60 experts and professionals from over 20 Member States to discuss the scope, the structure, the targets and the themes of the Atlas as well as the modalities for its realization.

The Atlas will be an online platform tasked with mapping and explaining the cultural interactions that took place across the Silk Roads and throughout history. The ultimate goal is to educate the general public, especially the youth, about the history of these historic routes and the common heritage built along them. The Atlas aims at demonstrating that this common cultural heritage can contribute to strengthening intercultural competences and encouraging responsible management of the religious, ethnic and cultural diversity of our societies today.

The two days of lively and fruitful discussions allowed the experts to identify the challenges of producing such important Atlas, define the specific themes and topics to be addressed and discuss the approach, methodology and technologies that could best translate the complexity of these issues into attractive and user-friendly tools targeting the young generations.  A Declaration entitled Peace Garden Declaration was adopted by the experts.

The meeting, which organized thanks to the support and efficient assistance of the China World Peace Foundation, also afforded participants with a number of side events, including visits to the Summer Palace, local attractions and cultural experiences, such as a tea ceremony and a traditional artistic performance.