Young people in Panama increase their knowledge about Living Heritage

UNESCO joined in the activities to celebrate the Bicentennial of Panama's Independence from Spain through the contest "Panama, United in Song", organized by the artist Patricia Vlieg and the organization Youth United for Education, with the support of the Ministries of Culture and Education of Panama, civil society actors, and the UNESCO Office in San Jose. The "Panama, United in Song" contest sought to bring young people between the ages of 15 and 24 closer to traditional Panamanian music through the recording of emblematic songs that are representative of their communities, or that are inspired by traditional elements.

Panama has a musical heritage that reflects an important cultural exchange, combining influences from North, Central and South America, as well as the Caribbean. For UNESCO, it is valuable for Panamanian youth to be aware of and value this intangible cultural heritage. With this in mind, the contest began with a capacity-building workshop on living heritage for the young participants, in which the UNESCO Office in San Jose participated. Some 52 young people learned basic notions about intangible cultural heritage, the importance of safeguarding it and the role of youth in this task.

The safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage is a fundamental element to build inclusive and peaceful societies open to cultural diversity, in which all people can express their collective and individual identity. Living heritage allows us to make cultural diversity a common force to face global challenges, such as climate change, or the health, economic and social effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Caroline Munier, Culture Programme Specialist UNESCO San Jose

UNESCO's work in the field of living heritage is guided by the 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage. According to the Convention, intangible cultural heritage is composed of oral traditions, performing arts, social practices, rituals, festive events, knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe, and knowledge and skills linked to traditional craftsmanship, among other elements that the bearer community identifies as an important part of its cultural identity. From UNESCO's perspective, these are indispensable elements for strengthening the social fabric and achieving the Goals of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

See here the Awards Gala of the contest that awarded 3 groups of young people, who will now have the opportunity to work with a team of mentors for the musical production, filmography, scriptwriting and professional production of their videos.