NATIONAL CHENG KUNG UNIVERSITY, TAINAN, TAIWAN
BANYAN
Volume 14 Issue 1 - May 21, 2010
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Commentary
 
World Cultural Preservation: A Growing Imperative
Andrzej Zwaniecki
Teaching India's Poorest, and Herself
Article Digest
Jong-Liang Lin
Chemistry of Glycolic Acid (HOCH2COOH) on Titanium Dioxide
Tzuu-Hseng S. Li
Controlling a Time-Varying Unified Chaotic System via Interval Type 2 Fuzzy Sliding-Mode Technique
Yao-Hui Huang
Identification of produced powerful radicals involved in the mineralization of bisphenol A using a novel UV-Na2S2O8/H2O2-Fe(II,III) two-stage oxidation process
Tzeng-Horng Leu
Requirement of Inducible Nitric Oxide Synthase in Lipopolysaccharide-Mediated Src Induction and Macrophage Migration
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NCKU Press Center
NCKU Fuel Cell and Lithium Battery Hybrid Powered Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Takes Off Successfully in Pingtung, Taiwan
Banyan Forum
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Editorial Group
World Cultural Preservation: A Growing Imperative
A conversation with the Smithsonian Institution's Richard Kurin
The original article can be read from America.gov
Richard Kurin, under secretary for history, art, and culture at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, sat down with the State Department's Bureau of International Information Programs for a discussion on protecting cultural heritage. Kurin oversees numerous museums, including the Hirshhorn Museum, the National Museum of African Art, the National Museum of American History, the National Museum of the American Indian, the Smithsonian Latino Center and the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Program.

Kurin, Richard
Photo Courtesy of the Smithsonian Institution
Question: How would you define culture and why is it important that the United States play a role in its preservation globally?

Kurin: As an anthropologist by trade who has worked in many countries around the world, I'm proud to represent not only the cultures of the United States, but indeed the cultures of peoples and regions around the world.

I define culture really as a way of life, as the things that are important to us, the values and beliefs that make life meaningful. Culture is expressed through song and dance, through architecture, through literature, through our aspirations, through our religions, through our craftsmanship and artistry. Culture is obviously important because it defines who we are in respect to our fellow human beings, to our neighbors, and indeed to people around the world.

We have a tremendous ability to learn each other's cultures, to learn them the same way we learn languages. Now that said, we do speak a lot of different languages — some 6,000 on the planet right now. And, as we know, the planet has become a lot smaller. Our cultures are in much greater contact every day with each other. So it's imperative that we, as citizens of a planet, understand each other. Maybe we do not need to speak each other's languages, eat each other's foods or sing everybody else's songs, but we do need to taste them and experience them. And I think that this experience makes us rich as human beings and it increases our understanding of each other.


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