Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Nominations Sought for the Melina Mercouri International Prize

The Melina Mercouri International Prize (UNESCO-Greece) is awarded every other year to recognize outstanding examples of action to safeguard and enhance the world's major cultural landscapes. It meets a need, clearly identified by the World Heritage Committee in Santa Fe in December 1992, to recognize that the protection of cultural landscapes -- a richer concept than the conventional one of 'monuments' or 'sites' -- is one of the main priorities of the present time.

Nominations for the Prize close November 1, 2006. They should be submitted by the State Department in consultation with the U.S. National Commission for UNESCO.

Cultural landscapes fall into three main categories, namely:
(i) The most easily identifiable is the clearly defined landscape designed and created intentionally by human beings. This embraces garden and parkland landscapes constructed for aesthetic reasons, which are often (but not always) associated with religious buildings and ensembles.

(ii) The second category is the organically evolved landscape, a landscape that results from an initial social, economic, administrative, and/or religious imperative and has developed its present form by association with and in response to its natural environment. Such landscapes reflect that process of evolution in their form and component features. They fall into two subcategories:

* a relic (or fossil) landscape is one in which an evolutionary process came to an end at some time in the past, either abruptly or over a period. Its significant distinguishing features are, however, still visible in material form;
* a living landscape is one that retains an active social role in contemporary society closely associated with the traditional way of life and in which the evolutionary process is still in progress. At the same time it exhibits significant material evidence of its evolution over time.

(iii) The final category is the associative cultural landscape. The inclusion of such landscapes on the World Heritage List is justifiable by virtue of the powerful religious, artistic or cultural associations of the natural element rather than material cultural evidence, which may be insignificant or even absent.

I would think that some of the Civil War battlefields, or the Navajo nation's Canon de Celly, or Mesa Verde would be interesting nominations. JAD

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