On 27 October 2017, the National Library and Archives Organization of Iran organized an event in Tehran to mark the World Day for Audiovisual Heritage. This event was supported by the UNESCO Tehran Cluster Office, the Iranian National Commission for UNESCO, and Iran's Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts, and Tourism Organization (ICHHTO).
The celebration commenced with the playing of the oldest sound recording of Qur’an.
Dr Ashraf Boroujerdi, Head of the National Library and Archives of Iran, formally opened the event by welcoming all Iranian and international guests. In her remarks, Dr Boroujerdi underscored that “the 27th of October is an opportunity to increase general knowledge about the importance of audiovisual heritage and the need to take immediate action in this field to preserve the collective memory of humanity.”
Concurrently the Head of the National Committee for the Memory of the World (MoW), Dr Boroujerdi stressed that in addition to focusing on preserving documentary heritage, the Committee will also prioritize the preservation of the rich audiovisual heritage and the introduction of new items in Iran. The Committee intends to do this through the identification and registration of items in both national and international registers, as well as through the facilitation of access to these heritage items.
Representing the Director and Representative of UNESCO, Ms Niloofar Sadeghi thanked the Iran National Library and Archives Organization for their significant contribution towards the UNESCO MoW Programme and applauded the Organization’s efforts to spearhead the annual celebration of the World Day for Audiovisual Heritage. Ms Sadeghi delivered the UNESCO Director General’s message, highlighting the theme of this year’s celebration: “Discover, remember, and share.”
In his remarks, Dr Mohammad Beheshti, Head of the Research Institute for Cultural Heritage and Tourism, stated that “amnesia” is the most serious disease threatening our culture. Dr Beheshti observed that “this is evident in many societies nowadays, and one way to cure this disease is to ‘remember’ through the power of audiovisual heritage.” He lamented that while existing audiovisual heritage draws attention to the near past, there are no documents preserved from the distant past.
In the next part of the programme, Dr Mohammad Hassan Semsar, a member of the National Committee for the MoW, presented the rich audiovisual resources in Golestan Palace which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.Dr Semsar highlighted the long history of using audiovisual resources in Iran, including illustrated books, photography, film, and phonographs. He suggested that a number of particularly old photographs taken by Iranian photographers and globetrotters could be used to restore historical sites like Sosa and Persepolis.
The methodology and notation system of renowned Iranian pianist and composer Morteza Mahjoubi were also presented through a live piano performance. Mahjoubi’s piano notes are registered on the Iranian National MoW Register.
To conclude the event, the Certificate of Registration of the piano score of Morteza Mahjoubi was unveiled and handed over by Dr Boroujerdi to the Mahjoubi family.
As a side event, the Memory of the World Photo Exhibition was inaugurated. The photo exhibition included photos of 50 items registered on the UNESCO MoW Programme.