Meetings kicked off on Saturday in Luxor in the Upper Egypt governorate to finalize the technical procedures needed to submit a request for listing “the Arab palm” on UNESCO’S World Heritage List.
Held under the patronage of the Arab League Educational Cultural and Scientific Organization (ALESCO), the meetings will run over three days with the attendance of 16 Arab countries to discuss a work paper on “The Palm…Traditions, Rituals and Legacies”.
Egyptian Minister of Culture Helmy al-Namnam said at the opening ceremony that these discussions come at a time where the Arab nation faces huge risks that threaten its national and cultural identity, such as globalization and the ISIS terrorist organization.
Namnam pointed out that the palm is part of Arab heritage and it should be protected from those seeking sedition and chaos, adding that globalization, which was manifested in US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, is based on erasing cultural identities.
Director of the Heritage Protection Program at ALECSO, Dr. Hayat Qatat Al-Qurmazi warned of the disappearance of the Arab nation’s cultural identity.
She noted that the meeting in Luxor, which is the 2017 capital of Arab culture, was aimed at implementing the recommendations agreed upon during the 2015 Riyadh meeting concerning listing the palm on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Qurmazi pointed out that the Arab world is facing serious challenges, such as attempts to erase its identity, however, “efforts are ongoing to maximize common interests among Arabs and to unify efforts to protect our culture and heritage.”