Qatar Museums (QM) and University College London (UCL) Qatar hosted a panel discussion titled “Safeguarding the Intangible Cultural Heritage in Qatar: Current Scenarios, Challenges and Future Perspectives”.
The event, which was held at the National Museum of Qatar (NMoQ), was moderated by Fernando Brugman (Unesco Regional Office) and brought together experts from local institutions including: Hamad al-Muhannadi (Ministry of Culture and Sports), Dr Mariam Ibrahim al-Hammadi (Qatar University), Dr Abdulla Mohamed al-Sulaiti (Qatar Museums), to discuss the topic of safeguarding the key aspects of Qatar’s intangible cultural heritage, and its vital contribution in protecting Qatar’s culture and national identity for future generations.
The discussion touched on various topics, such as initiatives to safeguard intangible heritage in Qatar, the participation of local communities in the process of identification, safeguard, and promotion of intangible heritage, and the way international co-operation in the field may contribute to improve the safeguarding of this heritage.
The panel was introduced by Professor Federico Lenzerini (University of Siena, Italy), who explained that intangible cultural heritage encompasses the practices, expressions, knowledge and skills as well as the associated objects and cultural spaces that people recognise as an inherent part of their cultural heritage.
It is essential for the state to safeguard this type of heritage, which is transmitted from generation to generation and evolves together with the communities, their environment and the circumstances of history.
The event comes as Qatar Museums and UCL Qatar work together to further protect and promote Qatar’s history and culture by modernising the current legal framework for protection of cultural heritage, aligned with internationally recognised standards.
Commenting on the importance of heritage, Abdullatif al-Jasmi, Director of Cultural Heritage Protection Department at Qatar Museums stated: “Qatar is an ambitious country with a lot of aspiration. It is quite visible that it is now going through a period of rapid development.
At the same time, it is a land with a long history and a rich heritage. As we move forward towards embracing our future, it is imperative that we do not forget about our past. Hence, preserving our cultural heritage — particularly the intangible aspects of it — will be vital in ensuring that the story of Qatar continues for the benefit of our future generations.”
Commenting on the event, Dr Sam Evans, UCL Qatar’s director, stated: “Safeguarding intangible cultural heritage is interlinked with protecting the cultural identity and integrity of communities across Qatar — all of which are outlined in the cultural goals of the Qatar National Vision 2030.
For the past decade, we have been working very closely with Qatar Museums to support the cultural goals of the country through various initiatives.
“This panel is an extension of that and serves as an introduction to the goals we hope to achieve as part of the Cultural Heritage Law we are developing in partnership with QM. The law will serve as a roadmap towards the preservation of heritage and national identity.”
Last year, QM and UCL Qatar announced a ground-breaking partnership that will deliver a modern legal framework for cultural heritage for Qatar.
In collaboration with key international organisation such as Unesco, the two institutions will modernise current procedures for protection of cultural heritage included in the Law on Antiquities, No 2, which was issued in 1980.