Kurdish leaders welcome Sulaimani, Sanandaj as UNESCO ‘Creative Cities’
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – On Friday, top officials from the Kurdistan Region congratulated the people of the Kurdish cities of Sulaimani and Sanandaj (Sine) for both having been included by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) among its list of “Creative Cities.”
The UN agency's announcement came on Thursday as it officially added 66 new cities from around the world to the list of those it recognizes as noteworthy for flourishing in one of seven categories; Crafts & Folk, Art Design, Film, Gastronomy, Literature, Media Arts, and Music. About 250 total cities total have now been given the distinction.
“As laboratories of ideas and innovative practices, the UNESCO Creative Cities bring a tangible contribution to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals through innovative thinking and action,” UNESCO said in a statement that accompanied the announcement of the new inductees.
“All over the world, these cities, each in its way, make culture the pillar, not an accessory, of their strategy,” said UNESCO's Director-General, Audrey Azoulay. “This favours political and social innovation and is particularly important for the young generations.”
As a result of its booming literary scene, Sulaimani was nominated for literature, sharing the distinction with Baghdad which had been previously included in the same category. Sine, in Iran, was chosen for music. Among other notable occasions, Sine holds a yearly international festival celebrating the daf percussion instrument.
“I congratulate the citizens, intellectuals, and creatives of the cities of Sine and Sulaimani on the occasion of their designation among creative cities,” Kurdistan Region Prime Minister Masrour Barzani said in a statement. “We hope that this will become a motive for greater gains in the fields of literature, art, and cultural movement in the Kurdistan Region.”
President Nechirvan Barzani said, “UNESCO’s enlistment of Sulaimani as a creative city in the area of literature is an honor and has made me happy,” adding, “I sincerely congratulate beloved Sulaimani for this recognition, and I am grateful for their writers and literature.” He also congratulated the people of Sine.
In July, UNESCO added the ancient city of Babylon in what is now modern-day Iraq to its official list of World Heritage sites.
The World Heritage designation provides some protection under international treaties and sets into motion efforts to conserve the site, located outside the city of Hilla, 85 kilometers (53 miles) south of Baghdad.
Editing by John J. Catherine