Mongolian calligraphy and the Empaako tradition of Uganda inscribed on UNESCO’s List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding

December 05 01:29 2013 Print This Article

The Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of Intangible Heritage, holding its 8th session in Baku until 7 December, today inscribed two new elements from Mongolia and Uganda on the List of Intangible Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding.

The inscription of elements on the Urgent List helps States Parties to UNESCO’s Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Heritage to mobilize international cooperation and assistance to ensure the transmission of this heritage with the participation of the concerned communities.

The new elements are listed below in chronological order of inscription. The links  lead to web pages with information, pictures and videos.

Mongolian calligraphy

Mongolian calligraphy is the technique of handwriting in the Classical Mongolian script, which comprises 90 letters connected vertically by continuous strokes to create words. After decades of suppression, Mongolian calligraphy has experienced a rebirth since the country’s democratization in the 1990s. Traditionally, mentors select the best students and train them to be calligraphers over a period of five to eight years. At present, only three middle-aged scholars voluntarily train the small community of just over twenty young calligraphers.

Empaako tradition of the Batooro, Banyoro, Batuku, Batagwenda and Banyabindi of western Uganda

Empaako is a naming system practised by communities in Uganda, where children receive one of twelve names shared across the communities during a ceremony presided over by the clan head and relatives. Addressing a person by her or his Empaako name is an affirmation of social identity and unity and a declaration of affection, respect, honour or love, which can defuse tension. The transmission of Empaako has dropped dramatically due to a general decline in appreciation of traditional culture.

Later today, the Committee will begin examining candidatures for inscription of the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

Picture gallery (updated to include new inscriptions):


Media wishing to cover the meetings require accreditation

Contacts: Lucia Iglesias Kuntz, l.iglesias(at) +33 (0)6 8024 0729, or locally  + 994 55 200 6475

Nushaba Mehdizada, nushaba.m(at) Mobile: +994 55 202 27 57

Office: +994 12 493 02 33

A media kit is available at

view more articles

About Article Author

write a comment

1 Comment

  1. nick
    December 06, 03:15 #1 nick

    Bravo Mongolia

    Reply to this comment

Add a Comment

Your data will be safe! Your e-mail address will not be published. Also other data will not be shared with third person.
All fields are required.