Moroccan prehistoric heritage in the spotlight at UNESCO

An exhibition and an international symposium on “the universal significance of Morocco’s prehistoric heritage”, placed under the High Patronage of King Mohammed VI, opened on Friday at the headquarters of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and and Culture (UNESCO) in Paris.

The two events were inaugurated by the Minister of Youth, Culture and Communication, Mohamed Mehdi Bensaid, and the Director General of UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay, in the presence in particular of the King’s Counselor, André Azoulay, the ambassador, permanent representative of Morocco to the UN organization, Samir Addahre, the Moroccan ambassador in Paris, Mohamed Benchaaboune, and the president of the National Museums Foundation of Morocco, Mehdi Qotbi.

The opening of the exhibition and the symposium, intended to present the richness and diversity of the Kingdom’s prehistoric heritage and to highlight recent archaeological discoveries, also took place in the presence of ambassadors from several countries to the UNESCO, personalities from the worlds of arts and culture, as well as a host of researchers and specialists in prehistoric sciences from various Moroccan and international university institutions.

Audrey Azoulay stressed, on this occasion, the importance of this international event, insofar as prehistory continues to “question us on what we are, what we have in common, on our place in the time scale and in the scale of the living”.

Congratulating Morocco for this initiative, Audrey Azoulay said she was “very happy that this high-level scientific dialogue is taking place at UNESCO in a field of study and research which is in full swing and which needs international perspectives. ”.

”This field also needs to cross disciplines to advance knowledge, because prehistory, which is a heritage of humanity, is far from being a fixed and mythical moment”, added the UN official, who welcomed the Kingdom’s support for UNESCO’s efforts in the various fields within its competence, in particular by hosting several forums and conferences, including the 7th International Conference on Adult Education (CONFINTEA VII ), held last Wednesday in Marrakech.

Audrey Azoulay announced, at the same time, the forthcoming holding in the Kingdom of the annual conference on the intangible heritage of UNESCO, at the invitation of the Kingdom.

For his part, Mohamed Mehdi Bensaid noted that throughout this day, researchers, experts and scientists will discuss this heritage treasure that makes Morocco a cradle of humanity.

“In Morocco, if we are proud of the archaeological discoveries that we present to you today, we are also aware of the scientific challenges they represent and the problems posed by their preservation (…) and the stakes they symbolize, by allowing us to read whole chapters of the history of humanity and the world“, he said.

These are, according to the Minister, finds “priceless“, which leave unique messages to posterity, left hundreds of thousands of years ago by the oldest Homo Sapiens societies known to date, adding that the past disintegrates, and its materiality, very often , gives way to oblivion or destruction and leaves only disparate traces, hence the importance of this symposium and this exhibition which offer a deep dive into the heart of this very distant past.

“It remains necessary to understand how a species, Homo Sapiens, managed to rise and build a civilization by writing its own history, ours”, said the minister.

According to the government official, for the Kingdom, this is a priority, that of “taking care to let this flame illuminate the paths that lead to our collective memory, without ever losing sight of the permanence of things”, noting that today, it is up to current generations to pass on, to preserve intact this prehistoric heritage, which has stood the test of time for future generations.

This is why the Ministry of Youth, Culture and Communication, under the enlightened leadership of HM King Mohammed VI ”is doing everything possible to advance research, to act in support of researchers and to protect our heritage assets”, said the Minister, who also had talks with the Director General of UNESCO.

”At a time when certain forces are attacking history, destroying the common human heritage, excommunicating its defenders, taking the world heritage hostage, our action is necessary, essential: this is about humanity who resists barbarism; lights to obscurantism”, he insisted.

And to add that it is “an indelible commitment that we make, in favor of peace, tolerance, diversity, and through them, in the service of the values ​​of progress, for the future and for posterity”.

At the same time, Morocco donated to UNESCO replicas of the skull of the oldest Homo Sapiens in the world, dated 350 thousand years ago, discovered at Jebel Ochoud in Youssoufia, and the oldest items of adornment of the world dating from 142 to 150 thousand years ago, discovered in the cave of Bizmoune in Essaouira.

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