Once, Henry Ford said: “Coming together is a beginning, Keeping together is progress. Working together is success”. That is what ICCN network is all about. We came together for one purpose, which is sharing our ICH and our practices to safeguard and promote it. We are keeping together to achieve the common goals and the greatest part is the way these network members are working together in a very rich cultural exchange environment where everyone is representing himself and his identity and discovering others via the same tool.
Exchange, network and cooperation are part of us as human being. We are what we are doing with and for others.
Many definitions have been given to “networking,” but the most relevant here in our context are:
Creech/Willard (2001) mentions that, network is a group of expert institutions working together on a common concern, to strengthen each other’s research and communications capacity, to share knowledge bases and develop solutions that meet the needs of target decision-makers at the national and international level. Nelson/Farrington (1994), in the same direction, said: ‘Information exchange networking is a collaborative process of information exchange, around a central theme, carried out by actively interested parties.
From these definitions, it is clear that networking is about sharing and exchanging knowledge, information and practices around a central issue, which is ICH in our case. These concepts also can be brought together and summarized by this definition which is adapted from networking for learning, ICCN, April 2004:
Networking is about organizations and individuals joining forces and/or building relationships with other organizations and individuals to share knowledge, ‘products’ and experiences and to learn from each other with a common goal in mind.
The Networking importance comes from the fact that it is fortifying critical thinking, pushing the members to create in a common extended space of action and permitting the network member to work collectively and search jointly with a full understanding of the local, national and regional circumstances.
One more thing to be added is the need for and the necessity of networking and exchanging, in order to strengthen the mutual understanding, which is the base to avoid any kind of prejudgment. Understanding the other and working with each other is all what we need for a peaceful world, and that is what we are getting when we cooperate and network, bringing cultures from all over the world together and encouraging each other to share cultures, especially the ICH, which are not less than our identity.