FACES OF LIVING HERITAGE: Deng Nhial Chioh

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Deng Nhial Chioh, heritage professional who lives and works in South Sudan.
© UNESCO

Deng Nhial Chioh is a heritage professional who lives and works in South Sudan. Coming from two different communities, he had a strong taste for cultural diversity from an early age.

‘I fell in love with heritage, discovering and learning about my culture. My parents come from different communities, which made me aware of cultural diversity very early. Every time I encountered elements of intangible cultural heritage, I understood the importance of our heritage and how the practices of the past continue to act in the present. This awareness led me to inner peace.’

In July 2019, Deng Nhial Chioh participated in the UNESCO Training of trainers’ workshop for Africa, in Algiers, Algeria, where he was trained on the key concepts of the 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage and the development of inventories and safeguarding plans. The interaction with the other participants at the workshop allowed him to learn more about cultural diversity in Africa and to understand the links between, for instance, the cultural heritage in Algeria and other countries in Africa. As a newly trained facilitator of the Global network of facilitators for the 2003 Convention, he will contribute to reinforcing the safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage in Africa and ensuring the effective implementation of the 2003 Convention on the ground.

‘I invite future generations to believe in three worlds: the ancient world, the present world and the future world. By taking a closer look at the values of intangible cultural heritage, they would be at peace with themselves. I also encourage them to conduct research to learn more about their heritage and to think about what needs to be done, now to include it in the everyday life.’

Since 2013, Deng Nhial Chioh has been collaborating with the UNESCO Juba Office to support the country’s implementation of the 2003 Convention through capacity-building activities. He has significant experience in conflict and post-conflicts contexts, and he worked in the United Nations Mission in South Sudan in the framework of the Protection of the Civilian Sites, presenting heritage studies and screening films promoting peace-building and cultural dialogue among vulnerable communities.

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