The International Institute for Central Asian Studies (IICAS) is pleased to announce that on October 26-28, 2022, the International Conference on Sustainable Tourism, Pilgrimage and Sacred Heritage "The People Protecting Monuments"was successfully held in Turkestan. The event was aimed to analyze the experience of Kazakhstan in matters related to the study and safeguarding of cultural and historical landscapes and the promotion of sustainable tourism at World Heritage sites. Special attention within the framework of the event was paid to summarizing international experience and practices ofconservation of World Heritage sites and drawing the attention of the expert community to the intangible heritage of Khoja Ahmed Yasawi.
The conference was organized by the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan in accordance with the UNESCO Initiative on Heritage of Religious Interest with the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the International University of Tourism and Hospitality, IICAS, the Azret-Sultan National Historical and Cultural Museum-Reserve, IRCICA and Ahmed YasawiUniversity.
At the opening ceremony, welcome addresses were made by Akim of the Turkestan Region Mr. D. Satybaldy, Head of the Internal Policy Department of the Administration of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Mr. B. Tlepov, Director of the UNESCO Cluster Office in Almaty Mr. Magnus Magnusson, Advisor to the Minister of Tourism and Cultural Heritage of the Republic Uzbekistan Mr. Temir Mirzaev, Ambassador of Italy to the Republic of Kazakhstan Mr. Marco Alberti, General Director of the Research Center for Islamic History, Art and Culture, prof. M. Erol Kylych and the Secretary General of TURKSOY Mr. R. Sultan, and the ceremony itself was moderated by the Deputy Akim of the Turkestan Region, Mr. Saken Kalkamanov. At the plenary session, chaired by the Secretary General of the National Commission of the Republic of Kazakhstan for UNESCO, Ms. A. Baisabayeva, the state of conservation of the mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed Yasawi and legal and management aspects related to the development of the city of Turkestan were highlighted through the presentations by Ms. Anna Sidorenko (Head of the Religious Heritage Initiative, UNESCO), Prof. James Reap (University of Georgia, USA) and Dr. Ona Vileikis (University College London, UK) highlighted.
At the end of the plenary session, memoranda were signed between a number of research organizations, whose representatives took part in the conference.
The panel sessions on October 26, 2022 were devoted to the peculiarities of the development of tourism at sacred sites and pilgrimage routes, the history of sacred places in Central Asia, the management of cultural heritage sites, and the promotion of tourism at sacred sites. The next day was marked by fruitful work in sections with an emphasis on international cooperation of educational institutions in the field of sacred tourism; aspects related to the spiritual component of the Turkic culture and the preservation and documentation of sacred heritage sites. Presentations were given by the Directorof IICAS Dr. Dmitriy Voyakin and leading specialist Mr. Alim Feyzulayev during the panel sessions.
On the same day, with the assistance of international experts and the participation of representatives of interested departments and organizations, a workshop was held on the development of a management plan for a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The event has become a platform for fruitful interaction and productive conversation between scientists and practitioners, representatives of the government of the Republic of Kazakhstan, local authorities and interested departments and organizations.
Within the framework of the conference, a wide range of IICAS publications was presented to the participants. All interested experts could receive free copies of the monographs and issues of the Bulletin of IICAS.