|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Press Conference by UNESCO, Mongolia Mission on United Nations Day Concert
Cultures around the world - while vibrant and diverse - were in fact the legacy of a common humanity, said officials of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the Permanent Mission of Mongolia to the United Nations at a headquarters press conference today.
Under the auspices of United Nations Day, which is celebrated each year on 24 October, the two institutions joined forces to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of Mongolia’s membership in the United Nations. The “UN Day Concert 2011” – sponsored by the Permanent Mission of Mongolia and slated to take place tonight – will feature an array of traditional Mongolian songs and dances. Through the lens of Mongolian cultural heritage, speakers said today, the concert’s theme of “celebrating cultural diversity” sought to highlight diversity as a bedrock of both identity and creativity.
“It’s a big day for Mongolians”, said Naranzun Badruugan, Director of the Department of Culture and Art at Mongolia’s Ministry of Education, Culture and Science. Among those in attendance at the concert would be Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Sukhbaatar Batbold, the Prime Minister of Mongolia. Moreover, many of the songs to be performed were, in fact, part of UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage List, a kind of World Heritage Site list for oral history, music, rituals and dance. Mr. Badruugan was joined today by several Mongolian colleagues, including Nastag Jantsannorov, Artistic Director and composer of the 2011 UN Day Concert, and Batchuluun Ts, the concert’s conductor. Also speaking was Rochelle Roca-Hachem, a UNESCO culture officer based in New York.
During the press conference, several of the concert’s soloists performed a selection of songs featuring the sounds of the Mongolian steppes – namely, the haunting strings of the horse-head fiddle, the operatic Long Song of nomadic tribes and traditional Mongolian Throat Singing. Mr. Jantsannorov said the concert was designed to demonstrate Mongolia’s work in safeguarding and further developing its cultural heritage, as well as how Mongolia interacted with and enriched the cultural diversity of the world.
“It’s a moment when we can all experience what Mongolia is bringing to the world’s stage,” said Ms. Roca-Hachem. Echoing the importance of the “cultural diversity” theme, she recalled that 2011 also marked 10 years since the ratification of UNESCO’s Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity, a document recognizing that cultures around the world were the legacy of a common human heritage.
Culture was also a driving force in sustainable development, she added. Its power could be seen in the preservation of endangered languages, in inclusive education initiatives and in the tapping of traditional knowledge for the preservation of biodiversity. “All of our civilizations are enriching humankind,” she stressed.
The 2011 UN Day concert will take place tonight at 7:00 p.m. in the General Assembly Hall, and will feature performers from the National Horse-head Fiddle Ensemble of Mongolia, singers from the National Academic Ensemble of Folk Song and Dance and others. For more information, please visit the UN Day concert website.
* *** *