Tuesday November 19, 2019

Belgium wants Beer Drinking and Brewing to be considered a Cultural Activity by UNESCO

UNESCO will meet next week in Addis Ababa to determine if beer culture will be among the 36 other practices the body recognises

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FILE - A jury member fills an evaluation sheet during the Brussels Beer Challenge in Brussels, Belgium, Nov. 4, 2016. credit- VOA

Belgium, Nov 26, 2016: Belgium wants beer drinking and brewing to be considered a cultural activity worth protecting.

The tiny country is home to a massive beer industry, with almost 200 breweries and thousands of beers, according to a Belgian brewing association that is petitioning UNESCO. The U.N. organization already lists Spanish Flamenco and Indian yoga as cultural activities worthy of protection.

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“I think what is special to the Belgian beer culture is the combination of variety, innovation and tradition,” said Jean-Louis Van de Perre, the president of the Belgian Brewers’ Federation in an interview with Reuters. “We have more than 3,000 beers in Belgium, more than 200 breweries and also these breweries have created around them a beer culture. We have our pubs (bars), we have our museums, we have feasts, we have the ritual of how to serve beer.”

Those pushing for beer culture to be recognized by UNESCO also say beer has given the country with three official languages a sense of national identity. They added beer helps the economy.

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UNESCO will meet next week in Addis Ababa to determine if beer culture will be among the 36 other practices the body recognises.

Ordinary Belgians appear behind the push to recognize beer and brewing.

“I think it’s a nice recognition for the country,” said Gregoire Lepoudre, a Belgian lawyer told Reuters as he enjoyed a beer at a local cafe. “Every Belgian knows that Belgian beer is recognized around the world.”

Beer would not be the first Belgian cultural activity recognized by UNESCO, which also recognizes the country’s horse-drawn shrimp fishing and the Carnival celebration in the town of Aalst.

The UNESCO list of cultural heritage was started in 2008. To be considered, the activity must have been passed down over generations and provide those involved with a unique identity.(VOA)

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Gallery Dedicated for Disabled Indian Artists gets Inaugurated at UNESCO House

Enabling the participation of persons with disabilities in artistic and cultural life is a key priority for UNESCO

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To honour the talent of artists with disability, the first edition of 'Discovering Ability' art awards was also organised by Youth4Jobs Foundation, with UNESCO and HSBC. Wikimedia Commons

As part of an inclusive initiative, a temporary art gallery titled ‘Not Just Art’, dedicated to Indian artists with disabilities, was inaugurated by union minister G. Kishan Reddy at UNESCO Cluster House here on Monday.

The unique gallery has over 125 paintings done by disabled artists across 15 Indian states, and showcases their amazing talent with colour and form.

It will be open for public viewing on November 5-7 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., UNESCO said.

To honour the talent of artists with disability, the first edition of ‘Discovering Ability’ art awards was also organised by Youth4Jobs Foundation, with UNESCO and HSBC.

The award celebrates the artistic abilities of persons with disability, who have hitherto remained a largely unrecognised talent pool.

The artists were awarded with a cash prize of Rs 50,000. They are Amrit Khurana and Rohit Anand, both autistic artists; Mallika Khaneja, an artist affected by cerebral palsy; Y. Raghavendran, an artist with speech and hearing impairment; Niral Hareshbhai Swati, an artist with intellectual disability; Mohammed Yasar who participated in the Paralympic Art World Cup in 2019; and Durgesh Kumar Rathore, an artist with dyslexia and bibliophobia.

“Enabling the participation of persons with disabilities in artistic and cultural life is a key priority for UNESCO. (The initiative adds to) disability-focused interventions in India. It signals our commitment to empower persons with disabilities to become both mainstream consumers and producers of art forms.,” Eric Falt, UNESCO Director, New Delhi said.

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As part of an inclusive initiative, a temporary art gallery titled ‘Not Just Art’, dedicated to Indian artists with disabilities, was inaugurated by union minister G. Kishan Reddy at UNESCO Cluster House. Pixabay

“If it’s the tag of just an artist, it would hardly get noticed. If we say disabled artist, people will still sit up and take notice. The awards feels like a great recognition,” Aarti Khurana, the mother of an autistic artist Amrit Khurana told IANS.

The jury was a panel of three eminent judges from the Department of Fine Arts, Sarojini Naidu College of Arts and Communication, Hyderabad, UNESCO said.

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As per Youth4Jobs head Meera Shenoy, said the initiative will also help artists develop market linkages, and they will continue to sell art online and through museums under the ‘Not Just Art’ platform. (IANS)