2019 International Youth Forum on Creativity and Heritage Along the Silk Roads

Between April 3 and April 6 of 2019, the 2019 International Youth Forum on Creativity and Heritage Along the Silk Roads was held in Nanjing for the event’s third meeting and second consecutive year in the city. Jointly organized by Nanjing and Changsha (a UNESCO City of Media Arts), the forum brought together 125 youth representatives from 86 countries to discuss and focus on two topics: "preservation and creative development of cultural heritage" and "literature diversity and urban sustainability."

The event closed with a grand ceremony to celebrate the progress made to participants’ understanding of culture’s potential for promoting sustainable development and social cohesion as well as to honor the long-lasting friendships formed over the seven days. “Eye-opening”, “life changing”, “uniting”, “inspiring” and “interconnectivity” were the most frequently used words to summarize the experiences that the 125 young women and men felt over the past week that they mentioned during the closing ceremony of the Third International Youth Forum on Creativity and Heritage along the Silk Roads on April 6, 2019.

Nanjing is ancient imperial city known for its rich heritage and history, the city highlights innovation-driven heritage protection as well as literary diversity. Visits to Nanjing Library and Nanjing Imperial Weaving Museum, provided concrete examples to acquire knowledge of ancient book repair and techniques applied to the protection of heritage in the contemporary world. Participants reflected on the role of literature to enhance culture and build a more inclusive and sustainable society when visiting bookstore Librarie Avant Garde and listening to book designer Mr. Zhu Yingchun.

Mr. Lan Shaomin, Mayor of the Nanjing Municipal People’s Government said that “IYF3 provides a platform to mobilize youth involvement in promoting mutual understanding and exchange along the Silk Roads”. Echoing his words, participants showed their eagerness to bring what they learnt and saw back to their home countries, and to continue their efforts in their own fields, like making a documentary on book repair, connecting peers to establish a network for sustainable development, etc.

Marielza Oliveira, Director and Representative of UNESCO Beijing Cluster Office preferred to say the successful closure of IYF3 was in fact "the beginning of a long term engagement and collaboration amongst participants, UNESCO and its partners", as Alumni of the third Youth Forum. Participants were very willing to say hello to the future, as many expressed: "Before the Silk Road was an ancient route, and now it is all about us. It is about sharing and exchanging".

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