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Cultural Survival and Revival in the Buddhist Sangha

The objective of the ‘Cultural Survival and Revival in the Buddhist Sangha: Documentation, Education and Training to Revitalize Traditional Decorative Arts and Building Crafts in the Temples of Asia’ project is to build local capacity in the conservation of the tangible and intangible heritage via revitalization of traditional artisan skills among local caretakers of heritage, in particular amongst religious communities such as the Buddhist sangha (monastic order).

The project advances UNESCO's Global Strategic Objectives and relevant Asia-Pacific Regional Cultural Programme Strategies, particularly those concerned with empowering and developing standards for culture professions and grass–roots mobilization for sustainable management of cultural resources.

Regional Workshop for Reviving Buddhist Arts, 21-24 November 2007, Thailand
UNESCO and Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya University (MCU) will be organizing a regional workshop to evaluate the results of the UNESCO project "Cultural Survival and Revival in the Buddhist Sangha" from 21-24 November 2007 at the MCU Wang Noi campus.

© David A. Feingold,

The project aims to revitalize the traditional transmission systems for knowledge and skills required for the conservation and contemporary production of decorative Buddhist art and building crafts through documentation, education and training activities. 

It builds capacities for managing community cultural resources among traditional caretakers of Buddhist heritage, in particular through working with local stakeholders by focusing on the revival of traditional Buddhist arts and building crafts and the rituals associated with their production, as well as preventive and basic conservation techniques.

Training centers for preventive conservation and Buddhist arts and crafts are established within existing education and culture institutions. Networking and cross-mentoring are part of the strategy developed to facilitate sharing of experiences, resources and expertise between project sites to ensure sustainability of the project outcomes.

Phase I of the project (2000-2003) was a pilot project implemented in Luang Prabang, Lao PDR. Phase II (2004-2007) sees the replication of the model derived from the pilot among South- and Southeast Asian Buddhist communities. It will ensure the ongoing implementation of the project in the Phase I pilot site of Luang Prabang, and a regional expansion throughout the Theravada and Vajrayana (Tibetan-tradition) Buddhist countries in Asia. Participating project sites are located in Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Lao PDR, Mongolia, Myanmar, NepalSri Lanka, and Thailand.