Tertiary education institutions play an important role not only in maintaining the concept of intangible cultural heritage (ICH) as a necessary construct in public knowledge, but also in training individuals who will become future leaders, policy makers, or curators in the field of safeguarding ICH. The teaching of ICH is highly dispersed throughout various disciplines such as heritage studies, art studies, cultural studies, anthropology, and even environmental science so building a network among relevant tertiary education institutions in light of ICH promotion and safeguarding is a timely and beneficial developmental mechanism. The urgency of doing it is undoubtedly supported by the UNESCO as it postulates that most heritage studies tend to focus more on tangible rather than intangible cultural heritage that is why the latter is rarely locatable in higher education.
Nonetheless, promising approaches are applied in making an important space for ICH in tertiary education. There are baccalaureate degrees specifically in ICH, culture-centric degree programs methodically integrating ICH, and interdisciplinary courses or lecture series which bring frames of ICH into academic life. While the state of ICH in the context of tertiary education promises a great deal of support in the promotion and safeguarding of ICH, there is unquestionably a need to holistically assemble tertiary education institutions and relevant stakeholders together to form an ICH-informed linkage. In view of this and also the official recommendation posed at the Regional Symposium for the Development of Post-Graduate Degree Courses Focusing on ICH in the Asia Pacific Region held on 2 and 3 November 2015 in Thailand, ICHCAP is developing such network among universities. ICHCAP recently collaborated with UNESCO Office in Bangkok in conducting a survey to assess the interest of universities to join an Asia-Pacific university network. As shown by similar initiatives of the European Network on Cultural Management and Policy (ENTACT) in Europe and UNESCO in Latin America and the Caribbean (2017) and in Africa (2018), it is indeed established that there is a wide interest in locating ICH in tertiary education.
To share pertinent experiences on the integration of ICH and tertiary education in different countries, ICHCAP is collaborating with the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Section in organizing a 75-minute roundtable discussion on 5 December 2017 in Tamna Hall of the International Convention Center Jeju. To be moderated by UNESCO Division for Creativity Director Jyoti Hosagrahar, the roundtable will be conducted in English; French interpretation will be made available. Expected speakers are the following: Annie Tohme Tabet, Anthropologist and Professor at Saint Joseph University of Beirut; Barbra Babweteera, Deputy Director of the Cross Cultural Foundation of Uganda; Bich Hanh Duong, Culture Unit Chief of the UNESCO Bangkok Office; and Tiago de Oliveira Pinto, Professor of Musicology, University of Music Franz Liszt Weimar. The roundtable is a side-event in the 12th Session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage from 4 to 9 December 2017 in Jeju, Republic of Korea.