Bulgaria is one of the first countries in the world to fulfill the condition of the 2003 UNESCO Convention on the establishment of a National Register of Intangible Cultural Heritage. That was highlighted as a major contribution of the Academy’s scientists by corr.-mem. Mila Santova at the international scientific conference “Current Issues in the Study of the Intangible Cultural Heritage and the Implementation of the 2003 Convention. The Contribution of the Scientists of BAS”. The two-day conference has begun on 17 October at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences and is dedicated to the 150th anniversary of the Academy. It is organized by the Institute of Ethnology and Folklore Studies with Ethnographic Museum, in collaboration with the Regional Center for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage of South-Eastern Europe under the auspices of UNESCO.

Our country was among the first 52 countries to ratify, in 2006, the UNESCO Convention on the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage, known as the 2003 Convention. Scientists from the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences have an indisputable contribution to its implementation and establishment in our country. Their expert activity is realized in active participation in the international dialogue on the topic as well as in the construction and systematic completion of an archive of authentic folklore databases called the Bulgarian National Register of Intangible Cultural Heritage. Its systematic replenishment is one of the main cultural policies of Bulgaria in this area, also pointed out corr.-mem. Santova.

Over 40 experts are participating in this interdisciplinary forum. All this makes us expect from the present international conference interesting reports and debates which will be another proof of the vitality of academic science and its partners abroad, of the living spirit to knowledge, enshrined by our grandfathers 150 years ago at the establishment of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. This is indicated in the congratulatory address on behalf of the President of BAS, Prof. Julian Revalski, Member of the Academy, read by Prof. Joanna Spasova-Dikova, Scientific Secretary of the division “Cultural-Historical Heritage and National Identity”.

Cultural heritage is much more than a memory of our past; it is the key to our future, said in her congratulation the Vice President of the Republic of Bulgaria Iliana Iotova. Increasingly, humanity is becoming aware of the contribution of culture and cultural heritage to the construction of national identity and value system as the basis of creativity which builds the progress of mankind for centuries to come.

Within the framework of the conference, there is also a photo exhibition “Images of elements inscribed on the National Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Bulgaria”, a culinary exhibition “Local cuisine” and a concert of bearers of knowledge and skills related to elements inscribed on the National Representative List.

On Saturday, 19 October, an Open Doors Day will be held at the National Ethnographic Museum where visitors will have the opportunity to get acquainted with the museum collection and the educational center.