Magna Carta awarded UN status

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Yesterday, July 30th, the four surviving copies of the 1215 Magna Carta, held by the British Library, Salisbury Cathedral and Lincoln Cathedral, were awarded ‘Memory of the World’ status by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO). Their inscription on the Memory of the World International Register was approved by the Director General of UNESCO, Mr Koichiro Matsuura, following a recommendation by the 14-member International Advisory Committee of UNESCO’s Memory of the World Programme.

The UNESCO Memory of the World International Register is a catalogue of documentary heritage of global significance, similar to a World Heritage Site list for documents and archives. It was created in 1997 and forms an integral part of the Memory of the World Programme, which was established in 1992 to promote the preservation and dissemination of valuable archive and library collections worldwide. Inscriptions to the International Register are made every two years.

Magna Carta is just one of the 35 documents added to the International Register this year, bringing the total number of inscriptions since 1997 to 193. Other additions, this year, include the Diaries of Anne Frank, the League of Nations Archive from 1919 to 1946, the Royal Archives of Madagascar from 1824 to 1897, the Donguibogam, an encyclopaedia of medical knowledge and treatment techniques compiled in Korea in 1613, and the Library of the Cistercian Abbey of Clairvaux in France inventoried by the Abbot Pierre de Virey in 1472 and which forms one of the largest medieval monastic library collections in western Christendom...

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