An Appeal for the Study of the World Heritage



Assuming that the heritage of the world can be considered a science, I would say that UNESCO's World Heritage is highly interdisciplinary and resembles natural history. It is the science of learning about the process of the evolution of the earth and humankind, and embraces, among other things, natural science, geography, topography, geology, biology, ecology, anthropology, archaeology, history, ethnology, folkolore, religion, linguistics, urban science, architecture, and art. I would like to see this comprehensive science incorporated into the curriculum of school education (including free research) and social education (such as lifelong learning and regional learning) as well.
There are more than one hundred countries with part of the World Heritage.These countries differ from one another in climate, topography, language, race, religion, and history. But each possesses a superb historical climate and traditional culture, comprising art, music, literature, and dance.
Human heritage is also the product or message of the people of each period.
For example, former South African President Nelson Mandela was imprisoned; Persepolis (in Iran), which was constructed by Dareios of Persia; the Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls (recommended by Jordan), which are associated with Jesus Christ and are Muslim, Christian, and Jewish holy sites; The Temple and Cemetery of Confucius and Kong Family Mansion in Qufu; Lumbini(in Nepal), the brithplace of Gautama Buddha; the Colonial City of Santo Domingo(in Dominica), which was the first city built by Columbus; the Luther Memorials in Eisleben and Wittenberg, which are associated with the German religious reformer Martin Luther; the Piazza del Duom o of Pisa, Italy, famed for the leaning tower, from where, according to legend, Galileo dropped weights as part of his reasearch on motion; the Glapagos Islands(in Ecuador), which are well-known in connection with Charles Darwin's theory of evolution; and the Cultural Landscape of Sintra (in portugal), mentioned in Byron's Childe Harold's Pilgrimage., and so on.
The precious earth and the World Heritage, recognized as an inheritance bequeathed by our forebears, have to be protected, preserved, and handed down to the future not only as the heritage of one's own country but as the heritage of humankind.
This presupposes that world peace will be kept. Plenty of invaluable ecosystems and cultural properties have been destroyed by war, Even today, despite the end of the Cold War, the World Heritage has often been jeopardized by conflicts between races or religions and territorial disputes between countries.
The World Heritage is evidence of wondeful ecocyctems and great civilizations (including cultural propertis). Such a heritage cannot be separated from global environment issues that stem from economic activities and development projects.
How should we human beings live in the twenty-first century? What kind of global society should we establish and pass on to future generations? It is the World Heritage that can answer,or suggest answers for, these questions.
I think it essential to keep the pure and simple mind of a child. If you see things from such a standpoint, you will find modern society and economic and political systems to have contradictory aspects.
We need a new paradigm for looking at the world, nation states, and peace. I believe that the science of the World Heritage offers just such a paradigm. It is a science for global citizens. I heartily recommend the study of up this science.


January 1, 2000
By Haruhisa Furuta
Copyright The Setouchi Research Institute


(Source) THE EAST Vol.35,No.5 January/February 2000





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