It is with great pleasure that I welcome you all to the Fourth IOV World Youth Congress. We would like to thank the leadership of Daniela Santos and the Brazil Team, Paulo Staudt, Gabrielle who have worked tirelessly in the preparations for this Congress. At the same time Paulo was also involved with the organization of the Festival Folclore of Nova Petropolis with Yedda. I congratulate them all.
I thank the Mayor of the city of Nova Petropolis, Mayor Regis Luiz Hahn, who hosts us with his warm hospitality. Obrigado.
The International Organization of Folk Art (IOV) has been in existence for the past 36 years. The founding fathers met in Belgium and the Central Secretariat was established in Austria where the first Secretary General Alexander Veigl set up the office. It was Alexander Veigl who reached out to many countries in different continents to expand the network of IOV. We continue his mission to spread the IOV to more countries.
It was in the General Assembly of IOV in Greece where the IOV Youth was born. In that gathering Alexander Veigl, Hans Holtz, former Secretary General, and I saw the presence of young professionals who showed interest in the work of IOV. The need for a future generation to continue the work was ripe.
After the General Assembly, Atty. George Frandsen, former Secretary General, initiated the call for the First IOV Youth Congress. This was held in Bountiful, Utah.
This was a successful move to bring in the Youth into the work of IOV.
The second Congress was held in China, organized by Emma Chen, Vice President of IOV. In both Congresses the participants presented their involvements in the different aspects of Intangible Cultural Heritage, oral traditions, performing arts, social practices, rituals, festive events, knowledge and skills to produce traditional crafts. It was interesting to see that the resourcefulness of the participants was
present in all the presentations. In some cases even without the support from government the young cultural practitioners were not discouraged from pursuing their projects.
The Third Youth Congress was held in Sweden. This was under the leadership of IOV Sweden Youth Mia Lindgren. This was focused on Traditional Crafts. The program also incorporated some dances and music. The excitement of sharing their crafts gave the participants more opportunities to interact. These elements of cooperation, dialogue and tolerance developed mutual understanding and respect for each others’ cultures.
The IOV has opened the path for the Youth to participate in the preservation of the Intangible Cultural Heritage. IOV was there before the UNESCO ICH Convention was conceived. We are in tandem with this convention. In fact, we are ahead by twenty four years.
Today we are on the Fourth IOV Youth Congress, the theme of which is “The Role of the Youth in Safeguarding and Transmitting the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Immigrants and Ethnic Communities in Diaspora”.
What better place than to do it here in Nova Petropolis which is the perfect example of the immigrant community which has continued the traditions and practices of their country of origin, Germany, in the lives of the people of this city. You will be witnesses to this during your stay.
Let me quote the UNESCO document which says, “Intangible Cultural Heritage is inclusive. Communities may share expressions of ICH that are similar to those practiced by others, whether they are from the neighboring village or from the city on the opposite side of the world, or have been adapted by peoples who have migrated and settled in a different region. They all are ICH because they have been passed on from generation to generation and have evolved in response to their environment and contribute to a sense of identity and continuity, providing a link to the past, through the present and into the future…It contributes to social cohesion.”
And I may add, ICH contributes to peace, harmony, mutual understanding and tolerance among peoples of the world.
With this in mind, I wish you all success in this Congress and please enjoy the beauty of this place, the cold foggy evenings and the warm sunny days.
By Carmen D. Padilla