“One Planet, one origin, many cultures, a shared destiny or none”: this was the slogan of the 20th General Assembly and International Symposium “Heritage for Planet Earth 2018” held in Florence on 3-4 March by the Romualdo Del Bianco Foundation and the network of its experts from all over the world.
The aim of the Symposium was strictly linked to the vision of the Foundation: passing from the concept of tourism based on consumption of services to the idea of travelling as an instrument of dialogue for favouring knowledge and respect for diversities, development in peaceful coexistence and protection of the health of planet Earth. Such a vision gives a completely new sense to tourism, a global phenomenon with over 1.3 billion tourists per year, which, if converted into opportunities of dialogue, could represent a most precious resource for the promotion of peace within the international community.
Over 200 experts and professionals, representatives of local administrations and prestigious international institutions, university professors and researchers from 88 cities in 34 Countries on 4 continents have taken part at the Assembly, many of which have delivered their key-note speeches, greetings or scientific presentations contributing thus to deepening the variety of globally important themes tackled by the Symposium. Among them, the message by Giancarlo Mazzuca, journalist and Member of the Administrative Council of Rai, as well as speeches by Eugenio Giani, President of the Tuscany Regional Council; Mounir Bouchenaki, Special Advisor to the UNESCO Director General and member of the Council of the Arab Regional Centre for World Heritage; Boguslaw Szmygin, Dean of the Faculty of Civil Engineering and Architecture of the Polytechnic University of Lublin, President of the ICOMOS International Scientific Committee on Theory and Philosophy of Conservation and Restoration and ex-President of ICOMOS Poland; Alexander Shunkov, Rector of the State Institute of Culture in Kemerovo, Siberia; Vadim Duda, Director General of the Rudomino Library of Foreign Literature in Moscow; Najat Zarrouk, Director of the African Local Government Academy (ALGA) of the UCLGA (United Cities and Local Government of Africa) and expert of the Foundation; Kuznezov Sergey, the First Deputy Minister of Culture and Tourism of the Kalinigrad Region in Russia; Ebrahim Al Khalifa, Vice Director of the Arab Regional Centre for World Heritage; Corinna Del Bianco, Director of the International Institute Life Beyond Tourism; Eraldo Vinciguerra, expert of the Foundation for the relations with the Middle East; Zhang Xiuzhong, President of the Beijing Zhong Art International and expert of the Foundation for the relations with China, and many others.
Significantly, during the opening of the Assembly, the standards of the “Certification Life Beyond Tourism for Intercultural Dialogue in World Heritage Sites DTC-LBT:2018” were presented, accompanied by the guidelines and rules, as well as by a workbook “Certification Life Beyond Tourism for Intercultural Dialogue in World Heritage Sites” and “Glossary Life Beyond Tourism”.
Training for Trainers courses Life Beyond Tourism have already been launched in Florence, and the next dates have also been announced during the Assembly: May 14-18, 2018, October 22-26, 2018 and 28 January-1 February 2019. Currently the courses are held in English and Russian, and in order to satisfy the training requests from Africa the French-language courses are also programmed to be held in the near future. Numerous practical applications of Life Beyond Tourism on world territories have also been evidenced on academic, civil society, local administration and World Heritage management levels. In particular, the testimonials of implementing Life Beyond Tourism Model came from Madam Najat Zarrouk representing the UCLGA (United Cities and Local Government of Africa, an organization uniting over 400 African local administrations), Vadim Duda, Director General of Library of Foreign Literature Rudomino in Moscow, leading a network of over 40,000 regional libraries around Russia committed to safeguarding numerous cultural identities of this vast territories.
Moreover, the Assembly and Symposium were also accompanied by a number of ceremonies, exhibitions and cultural manifestations, among which the Ceremony of the 45° anniversary of “Bandierai degli Uffizi” (1973-2018), official Florentine flag-bearers, with Antonio Marrone, President of the their Association. The photo contest and awards “Heritage for Planet Earth” were also presented aimed at the awareness-raising among the youth about the fragility of cultural heritage and of the planet Earth itself. The announcement was made also for the call for projects for the initiative “Dante 2021” promoted by the French choreographer, ballet-dancer and video-maker Ghislaine Avan aimed at celebrating the 700th death anniversary of Dante Alighieri with the reading of the Divine Comedy in all the languages of the world.
Even the convivial moments of the Assembly followed the logical thread of knowledge of identities and traditions: in fact the participants were able to taste Italian products, from Sicily to Trentino, with a presentation/tasting organized by Michele Taccetti of China 2000.
Some of the participants also remained in Florence in the days immediately following the Assembly in order to define with the Foundation the future collaboration for the dissemination of the Movement Life Beyond Tourism on their territories; among those, in primis, Sergey Kuznezov, the First Deputy Minister of Culture and Tourism of the Kaliningrad Region of Russia, and the development of collaboration will foresee the subscription of the Memorandum of Collaboration to be signed at the upcoming International Saint-Petersburg Economic Forum (May 24-26, 2018); the city of Togliattigrad, whose mayor was represented on this occasion by Tatiana Burobina responsible for the relations Russia-Italia (the signature of MOU is planned for April 24, 2018); University of Wroclaw (Poland) and other partners.
Finally, the dates of the next 21st edition of the General Assembly “Heritage for Planet Earth 2019” were announced for March 2-3, 2019.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE SESSIONS OF THE 2018 SYMPOSIUM, ITS FINAL DOCUMENTS AND E-PUBLICATION, PLEASE VISIT THE OFFICIAL PAGE OF THE ASSEMBLY.