June 4, 2014 (TORIT) – The United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) has officially launched the pilot phase of South Sudan’s national museum project in Eastern Equatoria state.
- UNESCO’s head of South Sudan office Khaled Salah speaking on Torit June 2, 2014 (ST)
UNESCO’s head of South Sudan office, Salah Khaled said it was the agency’s mandate to promote culture across the globe as a means of bringing people together.
“Cultural expressions of different kinds help people understand one another better, overcoming social, ethnic and religious differences”, Khaled said on Monday.
“That culture cultivates respect, tolerance and dialogue. It is not a commodity like any other”, he added.
In 2005, UNESCO adopted a convention internationally recognising protection and promotion of diversity and cultural expression as guiding principles for forging forgiveness, innovation and sustainable development.
The museum project, Khaled said, was part of UNESCO’s efforts to capitalise on the positive impact of cultural diversity in South Sudan.
“UNESCO supports the government of this country in the establishment of public cultural sector,” he said, citing institutions that promote and strengthen national identity in the country.
“Diversity, as a common national identity is instrumental in the peace and nation building process”, Khaled stressed.
The project team has, since 19 May, reportedly visited various locations of the state, including Magwi, Madi corridor, Kapoeta, Lopa/Lafon, consulting with the communities and documenting their rich heritage and cultural traditions.
Eastern Equatoria’s deputy governor, Jerome Gama Surur said the state was rich in culture with 19 cultural values, urging people to love their culture and put their traditions into practice.
“Let’s desist from adopting western culture”, said Surur, adding that cultural diversity is curved to attract tourists for income generation.
The state minister for gender said Eastern Equatoria was blessed with several languages, behaviors and social structures, among others.
“We are here to celebrate our cultural heritage and our pride as South Sudanese. We want the whole world do identify us as unique creatures of the east”, said Paska Hifita.
She described culture as a crosscutting theme in development work.
“It [culture] can be viewed as an assessment tool of importance in the planning stage for assessing feasibility”, remarked the minister.