Academic Symposium on Registering DMZ as UNESCO World Heritage Site Hosted by Province and National Assembly

Createdd 2019-04-24 Hit 16

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On March 23, Gyeonggi Province is hosting an academic symposium at the National Assembly Library to discuss the DMZ’s value as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

This academic symposium—sponsored by Jung Sung-ho, Chair of the Advisory Office for Planning and Finance, An Min-suk, Chair of the Advisory Office for Culture and Sports and Tourism, and 46 other members of the National Assembly, and hosted by the Gyeonggi Cultural Foundation—invites the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), experts from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (ICUN) and from Man in Biosphere (MAB), the Director-General of the National Research Institute of Cultural Heritage, and field experts, as well as officials from public and private research centers and organizations. Approximately 300 people will be in attendance.

The symposium will feature four presentations, followed by a seminar on “North and South Cooperation on Cultural Heritage and Challenges” by Choi Jong-deok, Director-General of the National Research Institute of Cultural Heritage. The four presentations include: North and South Korean perspectives of the DMZ, its shifting ideas and its future (Professor Jung Dae-jin from the Ajou Institute of Unification); the ecological value of the DMZ as a World Heritage Site (Professor Jo Do-sun from Catholic University); the DMZ as modern heritage and a review of its function (Professor An Chang-mo from Kyonggi University); and Suggestions to collaborate with North Korea to designate the DMZ as a World Heritage Site (Historian Council of North and South Korean History Secretary General Shin Jun-young).

The presentations will be followed by a general discussion led by Professor Lee Hye-eun from Dongguk University. Participants include: Choi Yong-hwan, the Director of Research on Strategies from the Institute for National Security Strategy, Professor Woo Kyung-sik from Kangwon National University, Honorary Professor Kim Jeong-shin from Dankook University, and Lee Yeong-dong, Executive Member of the Korean Council for Reconciliation and Cooperation.

The designation of the DMZ as a World Heritage Site is one of the pledges made by the members of the Gyeonggi Provincial Assembly. The assembly member sees it as a necessary step to take in order to excavate and preserve the site. In March, Gyeonggi Province made this proposal to the Cultural Heritage Administration, stating that the preservation of the DMZ and its designation as a World Heritage Site should be regarded as a policy issue for the Korean central government for inter-Korean reconciliation. Currently, this proposal for the designation of the DMZ as a World Heritage Site is being reviewed by the Cultural Heritage Administration.

In Gyeonggi Province, there are 3 UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Hwaseong Fortress, Namhansanseong Fortress, and Royal Tombs of the Joseon Dynasty (31st in a lineage of 40 kings).