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Official Launch of the World Heritage Committee for Korean Traditional Temples
Official Inauguration and Agreement Ceremony Held August 6, 2014
An official World Heritage Committee of Korean Traditional Temples was established to enlist seven Korean traditional temples as UNESCO world heritage sites.
The President of the Jogye Order, the Most Venerable Jaseung, also the Chairman of World Heritage Committee of Korean Traditional Temples, held a ceremony to officiate the inauguration of committee on August 6th at the Traditional Cultural Performance Hall of the Center for Korean Buddhist History and Culture. The committee will work to register the following temples as UNESCO World Heritage Sites by 2018.
The temples to be registered are seven in total – Bongjeongsa in Andong, Buseoksa temple in Yeongju, Tongdosa in Yangsan, Beopjusa in Boeun, Magoksa in Gongju, Seonamsa in Suncheon, and Daeheungsa in Haenam County.
Expansion of various studies and research is planned until 2017 in order to successfully register these Korean temples as World Heritage Sites. Moreover, numerous international conferences will be held from September until November, with the final goal of these seven temples being registered in 2018.
The head of the Cultural Heritage Administration, Na Seonhwa stated in his introductory message, “Being registered as a World Cultural Heritage site is not enough to illuminate Korea’s cultural identity.” He added, “Making contributions to various areas, making connections between you and I, improved communication, and the coming together of us all will bring the cultural spirit of mankind to the next level.”
He continued, “We must understand how the spirit of these temples will contribute to the development of mankind and we must work harmoniously to bring this planet together.” He further added, “With our great confidence that the heritage of East Asia has the potential to make great contributions to the world, let us work together with one mind and one heart, realizing that this is a wonderful new beginning.”
The Cultural Heritage Committee Headquarters will take the central role in establishing various research, conducting conferences and comparative research on world heritages. Through these efforts, improved understanding on different cultural heritage sites from around the world will be made available. By the end of 2016, the official applications will be completed and the application forms will then be submitted to the World Heritage Committee in 2017.
That same year, the final decision will be made by delegates of the UNESCO International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) on whether or not the temples will be listed in the World Heritage Register.
In 2011, the Korean government began a movement to enlist Korean traditional temples as World Heritage Sites. The National Brand Committee during this time was working to create an “Association of Traditional Temple World Heritage Promotion Council” and 45 temples were selected for review in June, 2012. As a result, a total of seven temples were selected as current candidates and on December 2013, was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List.