Every odd numbered year we are holding a thematic workshop so our members can share their experiences and discuss policy for ICCN to stand firm within the Intangible Cultural Heritage field.
In 2005, the first ICCN Thematic Workshop was held in Gangneung, Korea. The theme was “Sustainable Development, Safeguarding the Intangible Cultural Heritage and Promoting Inter-City Network”. From this topic we have been carving out and seeing with diverse aspect to not only in small range of safeguarding ICH, but also to adopt these shared ideas to youth, women, and every possible situation to widen awareness of the importance of ICH and what we have to focus on. The ICCN has grown this far by your great concern, love, and hard work toward safeguarding ICH.
This year, we are holding the 7th ICCN workshop in Slovakia with the association of Cachtice-Kopanice for 5 days from October 2nd to 6th. During the meeting, we will have an opportunity to share our ideas on how to safeguard ICH and what ICCN can contribute to that point. We will have more significant discussion and also have the chance to meet each other face-to-face.
Slovakia, also called Europe’s belly button, have numerous small towns with attractive sites and cultures. There is a vulgar belief “If you go over the Slovakia’s attractive hills, you will find yourself already in love with it”. It is amazing that, while a big country like Egypt has seven UNESCO World Heritages, Slovakia reserves total of eight UNESCO World Heritages: five cultural heritages, two natural heritages, and one intangible heritage. There are thousands of beautiful places in Slovakia such as Tatra National Park, Slovensky Kras National Park, Poloniny National Park, The Carpathian Beech Wildwoods,Vlkolinec, Bardejov and so on. One well-known ICH of Slovakia is the traditional wooden instrument Fujara. Slovakia reserves not only beautiful scenery or small beautiful towns but also encompasses rich history, tradition, and art.
The ICCN (Inter-City Intangible Cultural Cooperation Network) is an international organization established through cooperation among local authorities across the world for the purpose of preserving and promoting intangible cultural heritage of the world. At present, the Secretariat of ICCN is based in Gangneung City, South Korea. With 39 local authorities and 25 organizations/NGOs as members across 38 countries, covering almost every continent, including Europe, Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, and the South Pacific, truly, ICCN remains to its vision for a “Worldwide Living Heritage Celebrated and Communities Empowered.”
ICCN’s core efforts consist of activities such as the General Assembly, hosted annually by each member city on a cyclical basis; Workshops and Youth Forums; the ICCN World Intangible Cultural Heritage Festival (now named as the ICCN Festival). What is unique about the ICCN Festival is that it is not only a celebration of Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) being performed and shared, but it is an avenue for local authorities, policy makers, communities, and youth interact and discuss issues to safeguard and develop sustainable programs and policies for ICH.