On 16 February 2023, UNU-IAS organised an online session at the 67th Annual Meeting of the Comparative and International Education Society (CIES 2023) held in Washington, D.C. under the theme “Improving Education for a More Equitable World”. The session presented early findings of a study involving the participants of the Youth Ambassadors’ Forum — a series of workshops facilitating youth engagement in promoting, enhancing, and safeguarding intangible cultural heritage (ICH) in Luang Prabang, Lao People’s Democratic Republic.
Jonghwi Park (Academic Programme Officer, UNU-IAS) presented an overview of the research design and methodology. She explained that this phase of the project examined the challenges and threats perceived by youth towards safeguarding Luang Prabang’s ICH, as well as how making community-centered innovations contributed to youth perceptions about their role in preserving local ICH. The participants received training on ICH concepts and practices, and developed skills in areas such as storytelling, video editing, and design thinking. They also studied the importance of community involvement in safeguarding ICH and linkages with the SDGs.
Sawaros Thanapornsangsuth (JSPS-UNU Postdoctoral Fellow, UNU-IAS) discussed study findings showing that the youth expressed interest in various ICH domains in Luang Prabang. They want to safeguard their local cultural heritage, and find ways to make it relevant for future generations. This includes immersing themselves in the community and working with team members to develop creative solutions that integrate new designs and technology.
The Youth Ambassadors’ Forum engaged participants in various approaches to safeguarding ICH, and provided an opportunity to reflect on their role in preserving local traditions and addressing underlying threats. It also demonstrated the importance of empowering youth as innovators who can bring fresh perspectives and mobilise others towards advancing ICH, to drive changes in their communities and contribute to the richness of ICH for future generations.