President U Win Myint and State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi attended a ceremony yesterday to honour individuals and organizations who worked for ancient Bagan to be named as World Cultural Heritage site of the UNESCO.
They made speeches at the ceremony held at the Myanmar International Convention Center-II in Nay Pyi Taw.
In his keynote speech, President U Win Myint said Myanmar was a country with outstanding cultural heritages which depict the great civilization of the country, in terms of tangible culture such as pagodas, temples, stupas, monasteries, religious buildings and ancient palaces, while intangibles such as cultural traditions, languages and literature of the ethnic people. Mural paintings of advanced civilizations and the fine arts could be found at the Bagan temples which were attracting foreign tourists to Myanmar.
The President also said that among the cultural heritage zones, the ancient cities of Beikthano, Sri Kestra and Pyu were already in the list of World Heritage sites in 2014 as the first Myanmar heritage site. All the Myanmar people were proud of Bagan city for receiving the nomination of UNESCO on 6 July 2019, hoping to promote the cultural heritage of Myanmar to the world and elevate the dignity of the country. He also urged for more cultural sites such as Mrauk-U, Shwedagon pagoda and Padah-Lin Cave to be named as Myanmar’s additional World Heritage sites. Both the situations of ancient buildings and the possible impacts on socio-economy of the local people were taken into account in the process to submit the nomination.
The Protection and Preservation of Cultural Heritage Regions Law was updated on 28 February 2019 for the possible participation of local people and for their socio-economic development.
Management for sustainability of Bagan’s ancient heritage, prevention of natural disasters, tourism development plans and social development measures have been adopted together with a management scheme for public participation in line with the law.
Moreover, it was expected that the countries of the world would join with Myanmar in the preservation of Bagan’s cultural heritage which would become an inheritance for future generations. Arrival of tourists to the Bagan region would surely increase, helping the economic development of the local people. He added that all the people were responsible for the preservation of the Bagan region from the viewpoint of nationalism.
The President also suggested that the members of Bagan Com, the staff from the Department of Archaeology and National Museum, the officials from relevant departments and local and foreign experts should collaborate with the International Council on Monuments and Cites to finalize the remaining process successfully.
The President concluded his speech by expressing thanks to the relevant ministries, the departments concerned, the experts, people from the Bagan region, the artists and the parties involved in the nomination process.
State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi then said she was very grateful to all the persons who had participated in the efforts to achieve UNESCO’s recognition of Bagan as a World Heritage site which can be regarded as an inheritance for all the future generations all over the world.
She added it was a very proud moment for one of Myanmar’s cultural heritage sites to be recognized as a genuine heritage valuable for all the global people. It could be assumed that the organizations of nominees have worked for more intimacy among all the human beings who have many common practices and ideas.
The merger of these ideas would definitely benefit the world.
An archaeologist once said that physical inanimate things were served as concrete proofs for history. From the legal perspective, evidences of material things were stronger than that of non-materials things. Inanimate things were the exact proofs of historical events.
However, the viewers of these ancient materials could also imagine the past in their poetic sense. Our heritage that could help develop imagination was the most valuable thing for us. Through Bagan and other world heritage sites, our posterity could imagine the struggles of people and their lives both in the past and in the future.
The State Counsellor also remarked that human beings need to have mutual respect. It could be developed from the world heritage that existed in every continent such as Europe, America, Africa and Asia. These sites have proved that the ancestors could leave valuable inheritance for the new generation.
She added that she would therefore wish to repeat her gratitude to all the individuals and organizations who had worked to put Bagan on the UNESCO World Heritage List, not only for its favour to Myanmar, but also for its role to make the global people closer through their cultures and histories.
She continued that Bagan could show the relations between the past and the present of our country. Bagan was the land of temples and the land of the Myanmar people. She was very proud of this.
Some world heritage sites were existing as historical museums, and rarely concerned with the present situations. However, Bagan was a lively cultural heritage of our country.
The ancient civilization of central Myanmar has been an inheritance for this generation, and it was also a hub of diversity of cultures, people and ideologies of the world.
She then concluded her speech with thanks to all persons and organizations of UNESCO, JICA, the World Bank, the donor countries of Italy, China, Japan, the Republic of Korea, the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Culture, the relevant ministries, the state organizations and departments, the parliamentarians, the local people in Bagan, the associations, the artistes, and all the people concerned in this process.
Next, Thura U Aung Ko, Union Minister for Religious Affairs and Culture explained about the implementation activities in this process.
Then, the certificates of honour were given to the foreign experts and organizations.
President U Win Myint conferred certificates of honor to Ms. MonitoraUnakul from Thailand, Ms. Elizabeth Moore from the UK, Ms. Charlotte Gallowway from Australia and Ms. Min Jeong Kim, Head of UNESCO Office in Myanmar, Mr. Masayuki Karasawa from JICA and Mr. Gevorg Sargsyan from the World Bank.
Then, the State Counsellor gave the certificates to foreign experts, officials and prime ministers from the donor countries namely Mr. Ducan Marshall from Australia, Mr. Kaiweise from Switzerland, Mr. Richard Engelhardt from the United States, the ambassador of the Republic of Korea in Myanmar, the Chief of Cultural Office at the embassy of the People Republic of China in Myanmar, Dr Zaw Myint Maung, Mandalay Region’s Chief Minister, and Magwe Region’s Chief Minister Dr Aung Moe Nyo.
Vice President U Myint Swe also presented certificates to the ministers of Mandalay Region Government, Director-General from the Department of Archaeology, National Museum and Library, Dr Aung Myat Kyaw, Advisory Chairman from Bagan Technical Expert Team, Dr Kyaw Latt, the patron of Myanmar Architects Association, U Nyunt Han, the retired Director-General of the Department of Archaeology and Dr San Win, the retired Director-General of the Department of Archaeology, National Museum and Library.
Vice President U Henry Van Thio also gave certificates to U Aung Kyaing, the retired Deputy Director General of the Department of Archaeology and National Museum, Pyithu Hluttaw representative U Oo Saw, Amyotha Hluttaw representative U Kyaw Tote, Regional Hluttaw representatives U Win Myint Khaing and U Myint Sein.
Next, Union Minister Thura U Aung Ko presented certificates to the staff of the Department of Archaeology and National Museum , the related departments, the photographers of Hnalone Thar De Ka Bagan (Bagan In the Heart) and the representatives of volunteer groups.
Then, the President, the State Counsellor and the audience watched a documentary video about the nomination process.
Then, a member of the photographer group expressed words of thanks.
Next, the President, the State Counsellor and the officials posed for documentary photos together with those who participated in the nomination process.
Later, the President, the State Counsellor and senior officials attended the dinner to honour the nomination of Bagan as a World Heritage site.
After the dinner, they enjoyed an entertainment programme organized by the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Culture.
The ceremony was attended by the following dignitaries, senior officials, members of the diplomatic corps and invited guests:
Vice Presidents U Myint Swe and U Henry Van Thio, Speaker of Pyithu Hluttaw U T Khun Myat, Chief Justice of the Union U Htun Htun Oo, Commander in Chief of Defence Services Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, the deputy speakers of Pyithu Hluttaw and Amyotha Hluttaw, union ministers, the Union Attorney-General, the Auditor General of the Union, the Chairman of Union Civil Service Board, the Chairman of Nay Pyi Taw Council, chief ministers of the Regions, the Commander of Nay Pyi Taw Command, Hluttaw representatives, Permanent Secretaries, departmental heads, ambassadors, local and foreign experts, members of committees and sub-committees who worked in the proposal for UNESCO nomination to Bagan, the representatives from donor countries and organizations, the representatives from local and international organizations and the invited guests.