People, Travel

17 Cultural Heritage Associations Revived

17 Cultural Heritage Associations Revived17 Cultural Heritage Associations Revived

Seventeen cultural heritage associations in Iran have resumed activity, said Rahmatollah Raoufi, an advisor to Masoud Soltanifar, head of Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization.

Some 16,000 cultural heritage associations, boasting 80,000 members, were active up until 2005, but “they ceased operation due to various factors”, IRNA reported.

Raoufi, who is the director in charge of reviving cultural heritage associations, said there are no restrictions on who joins the associations.

“Every village, town, city and county can have its own cultural heritage association so long as there are people eager to join,” he said

The associations are run by the highest-ranking official of the area, such as governors or governor-generals.

The members are volunteers from the general public that work with the associations in all areas related to cultural heritage, handicrafts and tourism.

Pointing to one million recognized historical sites across the country, Raoufi said ICHHTO has only 3,000 personnel in charge of safeguarding heritage sites and monuments.

“The policy of ICHHTO, however, is not to increase the personnel but to delegate responsibility to the people,” he said.

The official emphasized the importance of cultural heritage and their effects on people’s lives, calling for measures to increase public awareness and instill a sense of responsibility toward historically and culturally significant monuments in people.

“Organizing events such as seminars and encouraging the public to attend such gatherings are helpful,” he said.

Raoufi said historical sites present a window to the past, and called on the Ministry of Education to devise curricula aimed at raising awareness about these sites among students.