Mayor of Kingston, Councillor Desmond McKenzie, has reaffirmed the Kingston and St. Andrew Corporation’s (KSAC) commitment to preserve the city’s intangible cultural heritage.
He cited efforts to restore the Ward Theatre, preservation of National Hero, Marcus Garvey’s legacy at Liberty Hall, and the establishment of the Simon Bolivar Cultural Centre as evidence of the cultural development of downtown Kingston.
The Mayor was speaking at the opening of the Inter-city Intangible Cultural Co-operation Network (ICCN) International Workshop, at the Jamaica Conference Centre, downtown Kingston, today (September 15).
About 50 countries are represented at the meeting, being held under the theme: ‘Local Government at the Forefront of Preserving our Intangible Cultural Heritage’. The three-day workshop is expected to discuss the various aspects of local government involvement in the safeguarding of intangible culture.
Director of the United Nations, Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organsiation (UNESCO) Kingston Cluster for the Caribbean, Dr. Kwame Boafo (right), and Councillor Dr Raymond Cho, of Toronto, Canada, have a discussion following the opening ceremony of the Inter-City Intangible Cultural Co-operation Network (ICCN) workshop at the Jamaica Conference Centre, in downtown Kingston, today (September 15). The conference is being held under the theme: ‘Local Government at the Forefront of Preserving our Intangible Cultural Heritage’.
“Local government is that vehicle for expression in transforming this culture. It might be new to us here in Jamaica, but in terms of this cultural heritage, this is the role for local government,” Mayor McKenzie said, in reaffirming the theme of the meeting.
He also expressed pleasure that Kingston was chosen to host the workshop, as he said it was the first time that a meeting of the ICCN was being held outside of Asia. The Mayor invited the delegates to enjoy Jamaica’s cultural heritage and get to know Jamaicans.
“Jamaicans continue to have a certain level of pride within themselves. This has served to make us very unique, very interesting, brave, boastful, and a set of people that continues to defy the odds,” he said.
Mr. Hyuk Moon Kwon, speaking on behalf of the Mayor of Gangneung in the Republic of Korea, Myeong-hee Choi, said he hoped that the workshop would result in the mutual co-operation of countries in the preservation of their intangible cultural heritage.
“We also need to develop cultural and educational forums more actively in relation to intangible cultural heritage for the enrichment of people’s lives,” he urged.
The ICCN is an international organisation of local government bodies, which aims to safeguard and promote Intangible Cultural Heritage in close co-operation with the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO). It was developed at the International Round Table of Mayors on the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2004, in Korea. The Mayor of Kingston has been Chairman of the Roundtable of Mayors since 2008.
Today’s opening ceremony was also attended by Governor-General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen; Prime Minister, the Hon. Bruce Golding, and several Cabinet Ministers.