|Memory of the World Seeking Peace and Development through the Convergence of Culture, Education, and Artificial Intelligence|
through the Convergence of Culture, Education, and Artificial Intelligence
An international conference was held to commemorate the opening of the UNESCO’s International Centre for Documentary Heritage (ICDH)
From October 31, the “1st ICDH Memory of the World International Conference : Present and Future of the MoW Programme” in Cheongju, South Korea. ICDH, which was established in 2020 by the agreement between UNESCO and the government of the Republic of Korea to support the preservation of documentary heritage around the world and expansion of public accessibility, is the world's only international organization in the field of documentary heritage and the opening celebration in the new building was held until November 1.
UNESCO’s Memory of the World (MoW) Programme, one of the three cultural heritage initiatives, has registered 496 documentary heritage items from around the world since 1992. This conference with three sessions under the theme of ‘Present and Future of MoW Project’, was attended by 130 people from 37 countries from the government, UNESCO-related organizations, universities, research institutes, and memory institutions.
- Looking at the future prospects of the Memory of the World Programme
In Session 1 “Current Issues of the Memory of the World Programme and Role of International Centre for Documentary Heritage (ICDH): Future Vision”, current issues and future directions of the MoW programme were discussed. In his keynote speech, Assistant Director-General of UNESCO's Information and Communication Sector Taufik Jelassi expressed gratitude for the support and commitment of the Korean government, including the National Archives of Korea supporting ICDH. “We aim to char the new collaborative paths including evaluating the role of the technology and the diversification of safeguarding strategies of documentary heritage,” he said.
In a congratulatory speech, Carlo B. Ebeo, Commissoner of National Committee for Culture and the Arts of the Philippines, said, “Today’s occasion is very important for all of us because we can use the platform of the ICDH to uphold peace and development in the world. We hope to be of partner with ICDH through the Memory of the World Programme as we pursue this mission of inscribing documentary heritage of the Filipinos as testament that truly, even amidst all these conflict, wars and violence in the world, there is hope for humanity.”
ICDH Secretary-General Yoon Myoung Cho emphasized, “Documentary heritage is a world asset that belongs to all of humanity and will contribute to spreading public understanding of cultural heritage in general through international cooperation.” He presented ICDH's four strategic goals: training experts, developing content, monitoring for preservation, and establishing a documentary heritage platform.
Roslyn Russell, chair of Australian Memory of the World Committee, said that the increase in the number of countries inscribing new documentary heritage in 2023 is the result of continued expert training for registration through the Korean National Commission for UNESCO (KNCU) and ICDH. In the session, the world's first online community “Digital City” (Netherlands) and the records of the Donghak Peasant Revolution were introduced as new items.
- Expanding utilization of documentary heritage into civic education, game development, and university curriculum
Session 2, “Utilization of Documentary Heritage: International Cooperation for Enjoyment of Culture by Public” covered examples of producing diverse cultural contents using documentary heritage. In his keynote speech, Emeritus Prof. Kyung-ho Suh of Seoul National University emphasized, “In a situation where the value of documentary heritage for enhancing the national status and global importance coexist, joint efforts are needed to improve understanding of documentary heritage among the general public from a global perspective.”
Chairman Lothar Jordan of MoW Sub-Committee on Education and Research (SCEaR), Prof. Anca Prodan from BTU Cottbus-Senftenberg, and Consultant Annika Roes of UNESCO Associated Schools Network (ASPnet) discussed the expansion of academic research and networks on documentary heritage, the establishment of university curricula, and the pilot project of global citizenship education through documentary heritage. The production of games based on documentary heritage content led by young developers, conducted by the Korea Creative Content Agency in collaboration with ICDH, received attention from participants.
- Documentary heritage, opening new possibilities through artificial intelligence
Session 3, “Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Documentary Heritage: Creative Development of Knowledge Culture” discussed the current status and potential of applying AI technology to research, analysis, and preservation of documentary heritage. Prof. Alice Oh from Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) explained public accessibility to records written in old language by training corpora of traditional Chinese characters from the Annals of the Joseon Dynasty through AI and translating it into modern Korean language.
Utrecht University Library Curator Bart Jaski introduced the application of AI to the “Utrecht Psalter”, which expresses Psalms in the Bible from the 9th century in pictures and text. This means that it will be possible to analyze ancient documents through AI by creating a database of Latin words that are not used in modern times, thereby expanding the possibility of new research results in the future. Prof. Tobias Blank from Artificial Intelligence and Humanities of University of Amsterdam, introduced AI research on Holocaust records. He explained the results of analyzing the positive and negative emotions of survivors by conducting AI machine learning on Holocaust testimonies.
Peter Scholling, Chair of UNESCO's Memory of the World Program Committee for Latin America and the Caribbean, said, “(t)he grand opening of the ICDH is a remarkable achievement” and “this heritage continues to shine, leading the way to a future enriched with knowledge, culture, and history.”
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