Diplomat hails UNESCO recognition of Kuwait’s date palm heritage

PARIS: Kuwait’s Permanent Representative to UNESCO Dr Adam Al-Mulla has welcomed UNESCO adding of Kuwait’s date palm production and related cultural activities on its list of intangible heritage, describing it as a new achievement for Kuwait. Mulla noted that Kuwaiti cadres’ participation in many educational and training workshops helped build capabilities of those who prepared the file presented to UNESCO. The Department of Antiquities and Museums of Kuwait’s National Council for Culture, Arts and Literature had participated in compiling the joint Arab file about date palm, knowledge, skills, traditions and practices, he said. Palm trees had left a cultural legacy in the Arab region that deserved recognition from international organizations, he argued.

Mulla noted that Kuwait is preparing new dossiers to be presented to UNESO in 2020. Earlier, UNESCO announced adding Kuwait and several other Arab countries to its lists of Intangible Heritage, specifically for date palm production and associated cultural activities. In a press statement, UNESCO pointed out that the Intergovernmental Committee meeting in Bogota, Colombia, selected nine cultural activities to be part of elements added to the “Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.” UNESCO said that in the 14 submitting States, which included the State of Kuwait, “the date palm has given rise over centuries to numerous associated crafts, professions and traditions.”

Those maintaining the cultural aspects and viewed as “bearers and practitioners” include date palm farm owners, farmers who nurture the plant, craftspeople who produce traditional and related products, date traders, artists and performers of associated folklore like story-tellers and poems, UNESCO said. The UN body stressed that the date palm has, for centuries, “played a pivotal role in helping people face the challenges” of their environment. In addition, the date palm has “cultural relevance” and its proliferation has demonstrated communities’ engagement in favor of its preservation. UNESCO said that the date palm, and associated knowledge, skills, traditions and practices merited a place on the heritage list. In addition to Kuwait, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen were added to the Date Palm listing. – KUNA