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Tunisia: Inscription of Couscous and Charfia Fishing On Unesco’s List of Intangible Cultural Heritage, Celebrated


Tunis/Tunisia — A special day was organised Wednesday afternoon at the Chedli Klibi City of Culture by the Ministry of Cultural Affairs to celebrate the official inscription of “the knowledge, know-how and practices related to the production and consumption of couscous” and the Charfia fishing in the Kerkennah Islands on the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO)’s list of Intangible Cultural Heritage.

The event, which included an exhibition of pictures and traditional tools related to the Charfia fishing technique and a screening of two films, was chaired by Acting Culture Minister Habib Ammar and attended notably by Minister of Social Affairs Mohamed Trabelsi, Governor of Tunis Chedli Bouallegue, Tunisia’s Ambassador and Permanent Delegate to the UNESCO Ghazi Ghrairi, Head of the Culture Department and Heritage Protection Programme at the Arab League Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organisation (ALECSO) Hayet Ketat and representatives of embassies of Algeria, Mauritania and Morocco.

In his opening remarks, the minister specified that the celebration of the inscription of couscous on the UNESCO’s list is in fact an opportunity to spotlight a shared culture among the four Maghreb countries that had jointly put forward an application, testifying, through this emblematic dish, to the sharing, cooperation, rapprochement and unity around a unifying element of a joint heritage.

The minister commended the efforts of all stakeholders and the four countries who had contributed to the preparation of the application file in all its stages before its submission to the UNESCO, which described this joint action as an example of international cooperation in matters of shared heritage, illustrating the extent to which intangible cultural heritage can be a subject on which States meet and cooperate.

As for the Charfia fishing file, Ammar underlined the importance of this ancient technique that testifies to the intelligence of the Tunisian people in matters of traditional fishing, perceived as as a factor of social unity and belonging for the Kerkennah Islands’ locals.

With this new achievement, Tunisia’s presence on the Intangible Cultural Heritage list is enhanced, the minister said, notably after the inscription of the Sejnane pottery and the date palm in the past three years, pending two additional application files, “the harissa” and the Arabic calligraphy by the end of 2021.

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