A dire need
In over 30 years of hard work, the International Organization of Folk Art (IOV) has managed to establish a presence in 161 countries. Members run local branches that coordinate with global efforts, making IOV an organisation that protects folk art and folk culture around the world.
Under the leadership of the late founder Alexander Veigl, IOV initially focused on performances. National troupes from the various member countries took part in folk dance festivals alongside private troupes that represented specific groups, ethnicities, villages or cities. IOV coordinated these troupes and promoted the festivals in their annual printed programme. In recent years, the organisation has also promoted folk activities on its website. A branch of IOV founded the Bahrain International Festival for Folk Arts in cooperation with former Minister of Information Jihad Bukamal and former Under Secretary of Information Hamad Ali Al Mannai; the festival was held in 2008 and 2009.
There was a need to balance the performances and the academic research and advanced studies programmes. IOV’s scientific committee was established in the early 1990s under the chairmanship of Professor Neoklis Sarris from Greece. The committee attracted the world’s most prominent folklore academics.
Bahrain was honoured when Professor Sarris delivered the opening speech at the launch of the Folk Culture Journal in April 2008. His death a few years ago was a great loss for both us and IOV.
Bulgarian Professor Mila Santova became the head of the scientific committee, and her goal is to show the world what IOV has to offer in terms of studies, scientific research, professional workshops and forums. She supervises the publication of papers and research papers on folk culture, and she approved the decision to publish the organisation’s journal in English. The IOV Journal for Intangible Heritage will be written and edited by member scientists.
As the Kingdom of Bahrain is strategically located between the East and West, IOV decided that the journal would be printed in Bahrain under the supervision of the Bahrain Regional Office for the Middle East and North Africa.
It is a great honour that Bahrain has been chosen for this academic project. The Kingdom’s freedom of expression and artistic, technical, and logistical benefits make it a good place from which to spread the message about folk heritage to the whole world.
As we await the first issue of this prestigious specialist journal, we congratulate IOV’s scientific committee and wish the journal and its staff all the best, because there is a dire need for it.
Ali Abdulla Khalifa
Editor In Chief