Cultural centers

Sudan: Role of Cultural Heritage in Achieving Peace and Stability

Khartoum — Heritage is the mirror of nations that reflects the 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 addressing the country’s challenges and building its capacity for reconciliation, peace and stability.

Sudanow met with 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 intangible cultural heritage as the practices, expressions, knowledge and skills that communities, groups and sometimes individuals recognize as part of their cultural heritage. It is usually expressed in the form of oral traditions, performing arts, social practices, rituals and festive events, knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe, and traditional crafts.

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

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

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

He went on to say “an important area that can contribute to peace is social practices, rituals and ceremonies, including religious ceremonies and teamwork (Nafeer) in which young people in the region work together without be paid, as well as seasonal celebrations, such as harvest festivals during agricultural seasons.

These practices, in which all members of society participate, regardless of their social status and age group, can be used in the service of the community to achieve peace and equality through cooperation.

Important elements of performing arts heritage such as dance, music and folk theater can also be used to serve society in this regard, especially in countries as diverse and multicultural as Sudan.

Annual festivals and celebrations in which all the different groups participate and showcase their heritage can be organized. This allows groups to be aware of each other’s heritage, helping to support communication and interaction. Museums, local associations and centers 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 organisations.

This contributes to the prevention and resolution of disputes, the establishment of lasting security and the consolidation of peace and stability.

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

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

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

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

3. Promotion of heritage, tangible and intangible through various media in order to familiarize the groups with the heritage of others to create a rapprochement and interaction between the groups.

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

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

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

7. Enactment of laws to protect heritage.

8. Form 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. Establish a unified body dealing with both tangible and intangible cultural heritage.

10. Coordination between all ministries related to cultural issues.

11. The need for 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. Pay attention to intangible cultural heritage practices, expressions and knowledge that help groups and individuals transcend and address differences of gender, color, race, origin, class or residence.

14. Encourage scientific studies and research methodologies, including studies carried out by communities and groups themselves, which aim to show expressions, practices and representations of intangible cultural heritage as factors contributing to the prevention of conflict and peaceful conflict resolution.

15. Organize annual festivals and celebrations that involve all the different groups 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 programs.