The 2012 UNESCO Award of Excellence for Handicrafts has been granted to 141 Iranian craft products during the fourth edition of jury session held in Tehran. Various works including metal products, wooden objects and hand-made glass along with many other forms of arts were assessed by UNESCO experts in the jury session mounted on November 16, 2012 in Tehran. Isfahan province with 48 assessed high quality crafts achieved the first rank among the Iranian participated regions, said Deputy Head of Iran's Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization (ICHHTO) for handicrafts affairs Mohammad Hassan Salehi Maram.
This year’s jury panel was comprised of the experts from Singapore, Malaysia and China while a number of experts from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan also participated in the meeting, Salehi Maram noted.The jury judges the submitted products based on several categories such as excellence in production and design, expression of identity and innovation. The program was established in South-East Asia in 2001 by UNESCO and the ASEAN Handicraft Promotion and Development Association; thereafter it was expanded to South Asia in 2004, to East Asia in 2006 and West-Central Asia in 2007. The award aims to encourage the craft sector to preserve cultural diversity and traditional skills and promote high standards of quality and authenticity in produced crafts. UNESCO's Award of Excellence for Handicrafts Program that was formerly known as the UNESCO Seal of Excellence for Handicrafts hails the winners with certificates that guarantee the quality of their products and will benefit from a range of capacity-building and promotional supports. FGP/FGP