Identifying main directions of further organizational development of Aigine CRC

Activities on search of new perspectives of Aigine CRC’s developmet for the upcoming 5-7 years became one of the main objectives of the reporting year. The the following activities conducted in 2015-2016 are directly related to addressing the abovementioned objective.

Cooperation with diverse international structures of UNESCO and working at regional and international levels as the directions of further development.

In 2011, Aigine CRC has started cooperation with the UNESCO National Commission in Kyrgyzstan by participating in regional workshops and sharing the experience on implementing projects supported by TCF. Shortly after, Aigine CRC staff members began providing voluntary consultations on enlisting the elements of Kyrgyz cultural heritage. Thus, in 2012-2015, Aigine CRC proactively participated in inscribing such elements of Kyrgyz cultural heritage as the epic trilogy “Manas. Semetei. Seitek”, Kyrgyz yurt, and aitysh into the UNESCO Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

During the work of the 10th Session of the UNESCO Intergovernmental Committee in November 2015, Aigine CRC received unanimous approval of the Committee members to be accredited under the UNESCO Convention on Safeguarding Intangible Cultural Heritage. Thus, Aigine CRC became the first NGO in Central Asia to receive accreditation under this Convention. The accreditation enables the Center to have a full right in taking part and shaping the UNESCO policies in cultural matters and receiving direct financial aid when participating in various events.

In 2015, Aigine CRC began cooperating with different international UNESCO structures. Thus, in 2015 director of Aigine CRC, Dr. Gulnara Aitpaeva, took part in an expert meeting held in Kuala-Lumpur, Malaysia conducted by the International Research Center on Intangible Cultural Heritage in Asia-Pacific, IRCI, Japan. Dr. Aitpaeva’s presentation sparked genuine interest of other participants of the meeting. Her talk was focused on safeguarding Kyrgyz epic trilogy, Manas, Semetei, Seitek, by digitizing the epic and distributing the video version among all the high schools of the country. During the work ofthe meeting, Kyrgyzstan was selected as the next country to host the expert’s meeting. Thus, on December 8-9, 2015, IRCI together with Aigine CRC organized and hosted expert’s meeting on Safeguarding Intangible Cultural Heritage in Bishkek.

Experts and culture specialists from Bangladesh, Fiji, Japan, India, Iran, Kyrgyzstan, South Korea, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Vietnam took part in the meeting. During the event, they presented analysis of resources on issues of safeguarding elements of intangible cultural heritage.

In 2016, Aigine CRC started its collaboration with Traditional Knowledge Department under the auspicious of UNESCO. As a result, Siezdbek Kalkanbekov, guardian of the Kochkor-Ata sacred site, together with Aigine CRC’s researcher, Aibek

Samakov, participated in IPBES dialogue – Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, which took place on January 11-13, 2016 in Paris, France.

In May 2016, Aigine CRC together with the International Information and Network Center of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Asia-Pacific under the auspicious of UNESCO, ICHCAP, South Korea, conducted a symposium Sacred and Cultural Space of Central Asia: Safeguarding Intangible Cultural Heritage and Strengthening Identity in Dushanbe. The main goal pursued by Aigine CRC in initiating this symposium was to build a Central Asian network of organizations and individuals interested in safeguarding and supporting sacred space of the region. Specialists on sacred space and practitioners from Central Asian countries and Mongolia participated in the symposium. Participants discussed different types of sacred sites, from mountains to architectural monuments, as well as ways to understand the concept of sacredness and forms/ways of its manifestation. Dr. Emil Shukurov delivered a presentation on Meaning and Value of Sacred Space in Central Asia. Dr. Gulnara Aitpaeva focused her talk on Sacred Geography of Kyrgyzstan: Diversity and Resilience of Intangible Cultural Heritage. The presentation was a summary of research projects conducted in 2005-2014 with support of TCF. As a result of the symposium’s work, ICHCAP stated its readiness to support the work of organizations and experts from Central Asia on sacred sites and practices. Thus, at this stage, Aigine CRC took up its work to the Central Asian level.