On 27 November 2018 Unesco wrote on twitter account: BREAKING – New inscription on the Urgent Safeguarding List of #IntangibleHeritage: Yalli (Kochari, Tenzere), traditional group dances of Nakhchivan, #Azerbaijan 🇦🇿.
This decision was made at the 13th session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, held 26 November 2018 in the capital of Mauritius, Port Louis.
The document on this nomination was presented with the joint cooperation of Azerbaijan’s Culture Ministry, the Foreign Ministry and the Permanent Delegation of Azerbaijan to UNESCO.
For now, the Armenian culture is facing a critical issue since Kochari, the Armenian Traditional Dance was admitted previously on UNESCO “Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity” List during the 12th session of the UNESCO that took place in Jeju Island.
Till now we don’t have a clarification from UNESCO regarding the nomination to the benefit of Azerbaijan knowing that UNESCO was very clear during their nomination on 2017 when they claimed that Kochari is a traditional dance that is widely performed throughout Armenia during holidays, festive celebrations, family ceremonies and other social events. It is open to all participants, irrespective of age, gender or social status.
According to the committee of 2017, Kochari, which is transmitted through both non-formal and formal means, provides a sense of shared identity and solidarity, contributes to the continuity of historical, cultural and ethnic memory, and fosters mutual respect among community members of all ages.
The committee has also noted that Kochari is one of the rare traditional dances whose chain of transmission has never been interrupted.
Details about the formal means of transmission, including the inclusion of a “folk song and dance” course in the curricula of schools in Armenia since 2004, educational programs in youth arts centers, increased visibility of the element through the Internet and other media outlets, and institutional initiatives, are noted in the dance’s description on the list.
“Non-formal transmission occurs within families and through spontaneously formed dance groups,” the entry states.
Note that according to Armenia’s former Deputy Minister of Culture Artur Poghosyan, there was an effort on the part of Azerbaijan’s UNESCO delegation to hinder the process of the dance’s being listed as a traditional Armenian dance, but that effort had failed.
Today, the situation is changed after this breaking news from UNESCO and suddenly we are facing a cultural big issue since Kochari is a unique Armenian tradition and this unclear nomination is unfair from UNESCO towards our culture since Azerbaijan didn’t exist when Armenians began dancing Kochari and the main point is that Nakhichevan is an Armenian land but occupied by Azeris.
Finally, we should react and as Develop Armenia we suggest a campaign to support and save our lovely folk dance; we urge our community to show solidarity with Kochari by posting and interacting on media and social media using the hashtag: #ArmenianKochari