Role Of Cultural Heritage In Realizing Peace And Stability In Sudan

Role Of Cultural Heritage In Realizing Peace And Stability In Sudan

By: Rogia al-Shafee

KHARTOUM (Sudanow) -- Heritage is the mirror of nations that reflects identity and authenticity of each culture.

As Sudan is a multicultural and multilingual country it has a distinct cultural heritage that can play an important role in serving the country’s issues and enhancing its capabilities in reconciliation, peace and stability.

Sudanow met Dr. Asaad Abdel Rahman, Secretary-General of the National Council for Cultural Heritage and Promotion of National Languages, who spoke about the role of intangible cultural heritage in achieving peace in Sudan.

He defined the intangible cultural heritage as the practices, expressions, knowledge and skills that communities, groups and sometimes individuals recognise as part of their cultural heritage. It is usually expressed in the forms of oral traditions, performing arts, social practices, rituals and festive events, knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe and traditional craftsmanship.

He said the intangible cultural heritage (or the nonphysical intellectual wealth) has a role in national unity. He referred in this regard to the UNESCO's, Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage 2003 and its guidelines for achieving peace, stability, recognition of the other and equality.

Here comes the role of the National Council for Cultural Heritage and the related authorities in preserving the cultural practices in Sudanese society that would enhance identity, reconciliation and stability.

Dr. Asaad said it is important to identify and define elements of the intangible cultural heritage that can be used for the service of society and the achievement of peace in order to protect them by classifying their resources and archiving them, to conduct studies and research on these elements and then to develop programmes and activities with the participation of all groups in the society in order to employ these elements in the achievement of peace.

He went on to say "an important area that can contribute to peace is the social practices, rituals, and ceremonies including religious ceremonies and team work (Nafeer) in which the youth of the region work together without being paid, as well as seasonal celebrations such as harvest festivals in agricultural seasons."
These practices in which all members of the society participate, regardless of their social status and age group, can be harnessed to serve the community to achieve peace and equality through cooperation.

Also important elements of heritage in performing arts such as dance, music and folk drama can be used to serve society in this regard, especially in countries as diverse and multicultural as in the Sudan.

Annual festivals and celebrations in which all different groups participate and highlight their heritage can be organized. This allows groups to be aware of each other's heritage thus helping to support communication and interaction. Museums, local associations and centres can be used as cultural spaces to practice such programs, Dr. Asaad said.

Heritage conservation activities can also contribute to peace by involving all sectors of local society, government agencies and civil society organizations.
This contributes to preventing and resolving disputes, establishing sustainable security and building peace and stability.

"There are examples of heritage practices in local social fields related to dialogue, conflict resolution and reconciliation such as Joudeyia which is an old Sudanese practice that is active among the different tribes and communities in Sudan. It means overseeing the settlement of disputes and the resolution of disputes among members of society at different levels within the framework of local institutions, without resorting to formal or popular courts. We find it also in many Arab countries where it helps to organize common territories and natural resources to enable people to live in peace", said Dr. Asaad.

Concluding his speech to Sudanow, Dr. Asaad presented a number of guidelines and recommendations that support the tangible heritage to play its role in achieving goals for stability and peace in Sudan. The most important recommendations are:

1. Completion of the comprehensive archaeological survey project in Sudan to make an archaeological map.

2. Completion of the community museums project to use them as cultural spaces and link them with local communities.

3. Promotion of heritage, both tangible and intangible through various media outlets in order to familiarize groups with each other's heritage to create rapprochement and interaction between groups.

4. Allocation of at least 4 hours of program time on radio and television to the Sudanese heritage to promote the virtuous values ​​that heritage includes in the hearts of people and advance peace and discuss issues of heritage and its role in achieving peace and national unity.

5. Training of cadres working in the field of media by introducing heritage and its fields and the extent to which heritage can be used in preparing media programs that promote peace.

6. Inclusion of heritage, media, culture and tourism aspects in educational curricula.

7. Enacting of laws to protect heritage.

8. Forming a committee of experts whose mission is to explain the role of heritage in economic, social and political life, and in sustainable development in order to formulate policies and strategies in this regard.

9. Establishing a unified body concerned with both tangible and intangible cultural heritage.

10. Coordination between all ministries related to culture issues.

11. The necessity of cultural planning in Sudan for the development of cultural policies and strategies.

12. Recognizing the contribution of safeguarding intangible cultural heritage to promoting the emergence of peaceful, just and inclusive societies based on respect for human rights.

13. Paying attention to practices, expressions and knowledge in the intangible cultural heritage that help groups and individuals to transcend and address differences in gender, colour, race, origin, class or residence.

14. To encourage scientific studies and research methodologies, including studies conducted by the communities and groups themselves, that aim to show expressions, practices and representations of intangible cultural heritage as contributing factors to conflict prevention and peaceful conflict resolution.

15. Organizing annual festivals and celebrations in which all the different groups participate and highlight their heritage. This provides opportunities to familiarize groups with each other's heritage and creates interaction and communication. Museums, associations, centers and local associations can be used as cultural spaces for the practice of such programmes.



Post your comments

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sudanow is the longest serving English speaking magazine in the Sudan. It is chartarized by its high quality professional journalism, focusing on political, social, economic, cultural and sport developments in the Sudan. Sudanow provides in depth analysis of these developments by academia, highly ...


Recent tweets

FOLLOW Us On Facebook

Contact Us

Address: Sudan News Agency (SUNA) Building, Jamhoria Street, Khartoum - Sudan

Mobile:+249 909220011 / +249 912307547