The Covenant of Manama: A Roadmap for “Folk Culture”
Folk cultures emphasize national identities and the idiosyncrasies of nations’ personalities, challenging the trend of globalization that is rapidly transforming the world into a single world order with unified norms and customs.
We chose to address folk culture and the challenges of globalization at an international symposium, because we are keen to protect nations’ identities and authenticity and, at the same time, to approach the issue with a deep understanding of the relationship between nations and globalization and its influence on the rapid developments in our world.
If the oldest nations have managed to preserve their folk cultures to varying extents, the countries of the Middle East and North Africa have lagged far behind in this respect; folk culture has not received enough attention in these countries, despite uncoordinated official efforts.
In the Arab world, our field experience in collecting and researching folk heritage and establishing specialized centers has proven that we cannot rely on the efforts of official organizations that belong to governments with many other priorities, such as education and healthcare.
Folk culture is so valuable that local institutions should support any official efforts.
Local and social activities should match international academic and technical efforts in the field of folk culture. With this in mind, we established the Folk Culture Archive for Studies, Research and Publishing in Bahrain. The Archive publishes the quarterly Folk Culture Journal with the cooperation and support of the International Organization of Folk Art (IOV).
Bahrain’s King His Majesty Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa has always supported institutional efforts to preserve Bahrain’s heritage and folklore. Bahrain has been the Middle East and North Africa’s regional headquarters for the International Organization of Folk Art (IOV) since 2007. The Folk Culture Archive was established and, in 2008, the Folk Culture Journal was launched in Arabic, English and French.
Technical and logistical cooperation with the IOV has helped to enhance scientific research on the Arab world, and the Folk Culture Journal is distributed in more than 162 countries around the world. We look forward to further cooperation and coordination with the IOV.
The state-of-art scholarly atmosphere of the international symposium, Folk Culture and the Challenges of Globalization, and the open debates that took place at Isa Cultural Centre in Manama, achieved exceptional success. The accomplishment of the symposium has led to launching “Covenant of Manama for Folk Culture 2012”, a distinguished milestone in the national efforts that integrate with the official initiatives supporting folk culture. Folk Culture Journal, in its sixth year, will adopt the Covenant, as its roadmap.