UNESCO Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, Ethiopia, Addis Ababa, 2 December 2016.

The Kodály concept has been inscribed on the Register of Best Safeguarding Practices. The decision was taken by the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, Thursday night in the Ethiopian capital. 

The 11th session of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage was held in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia. The nomination entitled “Safeguarding of the Folk Music Heritage by the Kodály Concept” was debated by the Committee composed of 24 members amongst the state parties to the Convention, on the 1st of December. Based on the interventions and observations of several members of the Committee, it was selected as a programme, project or activity that best reflects the principles and objectives of the Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage.

Source: http://mek.oszk.hu/01900/01906/html/index908.html

The Kodály Concept is an internationally renowned music pedagogy method, a tool of preservation of the traditional musical culture of the concerned local communities. The evaluation of the nomination file presented to the Committee highlighted that the concept could be used worldwide to document and preserve traditional music in a mainstream education context.

The fact that the decision was taken in Addis Ababa  is also highly symbolic for Hungary since Zoltán Kodály, renowned composer and the president of the International Folk Music Council carried out significant collection work in Ethiopia in 1965, aiming to safeguard traditional Ethiopian folk music. This way an unparalleled folk music documentation has been preserved in the Musicology Institute of the Hungarian Scientific Academy. In an ongoing project Hungary will return the collection to Ethiopia – whose original copy was lost during the civil war -  following the digitalisation and processing of the material consisting of thousands of hours of footage.

„The decision is a major cultural diplomatic success for Hungary, especially in light of the year 2017 being the 50th anniversary of Zoltán Kodály’s death”- added Zoltán Cséfalvay, Hungary’s Ambassador to OECD and UNESCO, referencing the fact that the anniversary was selected by UNESCO’s General Conference in November 2015 as an anniversary with which UNESCO will be associated. 

Anna E. Zeichner - Alexandra Szabó