|Michael Reiterer, Ambassador of the European Union to the Republic of Korea|
Michael Reiterer, Ambassador of the European Union (EU) to the Republic of Korea, congratulated Korea on the 30th Anniversary of its Accession to the UNESCO World Heritage Convention. He also used the occasion to present the main ideas of the 2018 European Year of Cultural Heritage at a Seminar held at the Lotte Hotel in Seoul on 2 May.
"The Republic of Korea is doing outstanding work in relation to the reuse of industrial and military heritage sites, as well as participative governance of cultural heritage," said the EU Ambassador. "I have visited 5 beautiful places in Korea out of the 12 listed in the UNESCO, such as Bulguksa temple and Andong Hahoe Folk Village, and they have taught me not just about Korea's history but also its stories, languages, values and zeitgeist passed down through generations."
As the representative of the EU, which has about 37 percent of the sites listed on the UNESCO World Heritage, the Ambassador stressed the importance of the cultural heritage and the support of the EU of the activities carried out by the UNESCO.
"It can be a powerful tool to build bridges between people, communities and countries, reinforcing intercultural dialogue and mutual understanding," said the Ambassador. "Cultural heritage and the creative industries have proven essential to economic development and job creation," he added.
|Celebratory photo of all attendees|
Currently, the EU has implemented about 40 projects worldwide with the UNESCO and the cooperation has been steadily increasing since 2011. The EU's voluntary funding represents the third largest extra-budgetary funding source for the UNESCO.
Ambassador Reiterer also presented the main ideas of the 2018 European Year of Cultural Heritage: Under the motto "Our heritage: where the past meets the future" the wealth and diversity of Europe's cultural heritage will be showcased, highlighting its role in creating a shared sense of identity and building Europe's future. Culture should be part of foreign policy. Cultural heritage is not about the past but the future, which stands on the past."
"The 2018 European Year of Cultural Heritage is an opportunity to celebrate the past, but also to reflect on the future of our heritage and of our relation to it, including the promotion of inter-cultural dialogue," he said. The EU Member States, EU institutions, civil society organisations in close cooperation with the UNESCO are already working on the policy legacy of this year.
In addition, Ambassador Reiterer welcomed the recent thaw in inter-Korean relations adding that "the common cultural heritage of the two Koreas will support diplomacy as a common denominator."
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