UNESCO “Award of Excellence” 2012
Gathered in Tehran, Iran, from 14 to 19 November, the UNESCO international jury of experts in handicraft has completed the judging of the 2012 submissions received from artisans from Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan participating in the UNESCO’s programme ‘Award of Excellence for Handicraft Products’.Established to encourage craft-workers to use traditional skills and materials, the Award of Excellence programme (referred to as the Award) aims to ensure the continuation of traditional knowledge and skills and the preservation of cultural diversity in the region. By recognizing excellence in craftsmanship, the programme aims to set quality standards, raise international awareness and strengthen market demand for West-Central Asian handicraft products.
The Award programme was initiated in 2001 by the UNESCO Asia-Pacific Regional Office in Bangkok and the ASEAN Handicraft Promotion and Development Association (AHPADA). In 2004 the programme was expanded to Central Asia (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan) and South Asia (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka). In 2006 the UNESCO Beijing office successfully launched the Award programme in East Asia (China, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Japan, Mongolia and Republic of Korea). UNESCO's partner for the Award programme in Central Asia since 2004 is the Central Asian Crafts Support Association (CACSA). In 2007 Iran joined the Award programme in Central Asia.
The panel of judges and experts in design, marketing and handicraft production met in November in Tehran, Iran to review the submissions of crafts ranging from jewelry and toys to household decorations and garments. Each craft item was reviewed according to four key criteria including excellence, authenticity, innovation and marketability.
The UNESCO Award of Excellence was awarded to 188 handicraft products out of 407 entries: 146 from Iran, 12 from Kazakhstan, 22 from Kyrgyzstan, 2 from Tajikistan, 1 from Turkmenistan and 5 from Uzbekistan.
The regular implementation of the UNESCO Award of Excellence for Handicraft Products in West-Central Asia is an important contribution to the promotion of traditional craftsmanship in the world crafts market, to the mutual enrichment of West-Central Asian traditional cultures, a better understanding of other cultures and development of intercultural dialogue for peace and security in the region as well as globally.