MUSCAT: A three-day seminar organised by the Ministry of Heritage and Culture (MoHC) in association with Unesco has called for protecting and promoting the sultanate’s intangible heritage.

Titled ‘Strengthening the Conceptual Legal Intangible Heritage’ the seminar began at City Seasons Hotel on Monday and was inaugurated by H H Sayyid Haitham bin Tariq al Said, Minister of Heritage and Culture in the presence of H E Dr Madeeha bint Ahmed al Shibaniyah, Minister of Education.

The seminar follows recommendations made at the 18th Conference of Arab Ministers Responsible for Cultural Affairs held in Manama in 2012. The conference had also suggested inviting the Arab League Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization (ALECSO) and Unesco to introduce courses on intangible heritage in every Arab country as per its requirements during the 2013-15 period.

Saeed Sultan al Busaidi, director of traditional art and heritage in MoHC said, “This [conference] comes after a series of ALECSO meetings in Qatar and Kuwait. It is very essential to preserve intangible heritage. We invite institutions – that is the educational society, NGOs and other interested parties – to develop an understanding on the topic. This will help us rediscover what we are missing out.”

The current seminar in Muscat is focusing on developing a model law on intangible cultural heritage in Arab states, define the role of civil society organisations, preservation, and unifying concepts and terminologies across Arab states. The seminar will also suggest the international action needed towards this goal.

Busaidi said, “This is a field in which the younger generation is not interested in. They don’t know if these things exist. We try to keep endangered elements alive through guidelines and encouragement. Traditional art is facing extreme and unfair competition due to modernisation. We are fortunate that His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said has given immense importance to intangible heritage, and we would like to pass it on to future generations.I feel there is always more to be done and in a better manner. The younger generation should not forget its roots as that is what is their identity. They should take pride in it.”