UNESCO promotes excellence in craft production

7 October 2008

An international jury of experts in design, marketing and handicraft production are meeting in Isfahan, Iran on 4-8 October to select the winners from the West-Central Asian Region of the UNESCO 2008 Award of Excellence for Handicrafts.

225 products ranging from traditionally woven textiles to ceramics and silverware from Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan will be evaluated by jury members. The jury will judge submissions through four key criteria: excellence, authenticity, innovation and marketability. Moreover, the pre-conditions of respect for the environment in materials and production techniques and social responsibility must also be met. By recognizing such characteristics in craftsmanship, the UNESCO Programme aims to set quality standards, raise international awareness and strengthen the promotional potential for handicraft products.

The UNESCO Award of Excellence Programme Jury meets every two years on a sub-regional basis. Winners receive an award certificate and also benefit from a range of capacity-building and promotional support. The 2008 jury session is co-organized by UNESCO, Iran's Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization (ICHHTO) and the Central Asian Crafts Support Association (CACSA). Winning entries will be exhibited in five cities of Iran after the jury session and then travel to Kazakhstan for exhibition.

Along with the international jury session, on 4 October a roundtable of international experts on handicrafts debated marketing and protecting designs of cultural industries. Experts from both the private and public sectors of Afghanistan, Denmark, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Tajikistan, Thailand, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan participated in the event. On 8 October , UNESCO and ICHHTO will conduct training for future Afghan and Iranian jury members of the UNESCO Award of Excellence for Handicrafts Programme.

For more details about the programme, visit: www.handicrafts.ir and www.unescobkk.org/culture/craftseal

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