Experts from 19 ASEM countries met in Amsterdam to discuss and
prepare recommendations on heritage for policy makers in the two
Scholars and cultural professionals from 19 ASEM countries urge policy makers taking part in the ASEM Culture Ministers’ Meeting and ASEM8 Summit to support platforms that include different stakeholders. This would give them an equal voice in shaping cultural policies as well as to recognise the notion of ‘shared heritage’. These ideas are among the recommendations from a roundtable held in Amsterdam, Netherlands (2-3 September 2010).
The roundtable, The Cultural Heritages of Asia and Europe: Global Challenges and Local Initiatives was organised by ASEF and the International Institute for Asian Studies (IIAS) in The Netherlands. It gathered a wide variety of heritage experts in both regions to prepare policy recommendations on heritage conservation and promotion.
One of the participants, Dr Tansen Sen, Director of the Nalanda-Sriwijaya Centre at the Institute for Southeast Asian Studies in Singapore, explains the concept of shared heritage. “For instance, tea is a shared heritage between China, India and the British. The ancient university of Nalanda (in Bihar, India) is another ‘shared space’ and attempts are now being made to revive it. It is interesting to see the connections that existed in the past and revive these connections as a means to bring cultures together. The key thing is convincing political actors to look at cultural connections beyond borders, be it pre-colonial, colonial or post-colonial.”
The participants also highlighted other key issues such as giving equal importance to cultures of minority communities, valuing the roles of cultural practitioners, activists and micro-businesses in heritage sites and the importance of sharing or conducting joint research to create common knowledge.
ASEF conveyed their recommendations to the ASEM Culture Ministers Meeting in Poznan, Poland, in September 2010.