New Seven Wonders of the World

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File:New 7 Wonders Winners.png
Location of the New Seven Wonders winners.

New Seven Wonders of the World is a project that attempts to revive the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World concept with a list of modern wonders. A popularity poll was organized by the private New7Wonders Foundation, with winners announced on July 7, 2007 in Lisbon, Portugal.[1]

The Swiss-based New7Wonders Foundation claims more than 100 million votes were cast through the Internet or by telephone. Nothing prevented multiple votes, so the poll is considered "decidedly unscientific".[2] According to John Zogby, founder and current President/CEO of the Washington-based polling organization Zogby International, New7Wonders Foundation drove “the largest poll on record”.[1]

The program drew a wide range of official reaction. Some countries touted their finalist and tried to get more votes cast for it, while others downplayed or criticized the contest.[2][1] After supporting the New7Wonders Foundation at the beginning of the campaign, with providing advice on nominee selection, The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has distanced itself from the undertaking in 2007.[3][4] Many monuments were supported by dedicated websites or strong placements on national websites. National figures and celebrities promoted the New7Wonders campaign in many countries.[5] New7Wonders has stated that it sees its goal of global dialogue and cultural exchange as having been achieved, thanks to the sheer number of votes cast and the geographical and cultural diversity of the voters registered.[6]

The New7Wonders Foundation, established in 2001, has relied on private donations and the sale of broadcast rights and has never accepted any public funding or taxpayer money.[6] After the final announcement, New7Wonders said it didn't earn anything from the exercise and barely recovered its investments.[7][8]

Bernard Weber, president of the New7Wonders Foundation, called the voting for the New 7 Wonders of the World, the first worldwide democratic exercise in mankind's history.[9] In 2007 the foundation has begun a similar contest, called New7Wonders of Nature, with nominees solicited through December 31, 2008. The 21 finalists will then be the subject of voting until the summer of 2010.

Contents

History

The origin of the idea of seven wonders of the world dates back to Herodotus (484 BC – 425 BC) and Callimachus (305 BC – 240 BC), who made lists which included the Great Pyramid of Giza, Hanging Gardens of Babylon, Statue of Zeus at Olympia, Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, Mausoleum of Maussollos at Halicarnassus, Colossus of Rhodes and Lighthouse of Alexandria. Only the Great Pyramid of Giza is still standing. The other six were destroyed by earthquake, fire, or other causes.[10]

File:New7wonders.png
The finalist candidates for the New Seven Wonders.

According to the New7Wonders milestones page,[11] Swiss-originated Canadian filmmaker and aviator Bernard Weber launched the project in September 1999. The project's web site started in 2001 when Mr. Weber paid $700 for a site based in Canada.[1] To be included on the new list, the wonders had to be man-made, completed before 2000, and in an acceptable state of preservation. By November 24, 2005, 177 monuments were up for consideration. On January 1, 2006, the New7Wonders Foundation said the list had been narrowed to 21 sites,[12] by a panel of six of world leading architects from five continents, such as Zaha Hadid, Cesar Pelli, Tadao Ando, Harry Seidler, Aziz Tayob, Yung Ho Chang and its President, Prof. Federico Mayor, the former Director General of UNESCO. The list was later reduced to 20 removing the Pyramids of Giza — the only remaining of the 7 Ancient Wonders of the World — from the voting and designating it an Honorary New7Wonders Candidate.[13]

The project assigned what it called attributes to each finalist, such as perseverance for the Great Wall of China, passion for the Taj Mahal, and awe for the Easter Island statues.

A midpoint tally reported a top 10 list which included all 7 winners, plus the Acropolis, Easter Island, and the Eiffel Tower.[14]

Federico Mayor, a former UNESCO Director General, was the president of project's expert panel as an individual.[15] New7Wonders is not connected with UNESCO.[16]

Organisers stated that the primary goal of the campaign is to foster and encourage global exchange and intercultural appreciation. In addition, what New7Wonders calls "Global Memory" was created, meaning 7 things that everyone worldwide can remember and share. [17] Also New7Wonders wants to use part of the revenue from the contest between the well-known monuments, from future votes, related merchandise, and use of the voters database,[18] to set up, or contribute to, various restoration projects in the world.[8][19][2] A goal of New7Wonders has always been "raising awareness about the world’s unique cultural heritage sites (...) Getting that message across would be something of a wonder on its own" according to Newsweek and MSNBC, July 5, 2007.[1]

Winners

In alphabetical order:

Wonder Location Image
Chichen Itza 22x20px Yucatán, Mexico El Castillo being climbed by tourists
Christ the Redeemer Brazil Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Colosseum 22x20px Rome, Italy The Colosseum at dusk: exterior view of the best-preserved section
Great Wall of China 22x20px China The Great Wall in the winter
Machu Picchu Peru Cuzco, Perú
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Petra 22x20px Jordan
Taj Mahal 22x20px Agra, India Taj Mahal
And one listing has honorary status: Giza Pyramid Complex
(The last remaining ancient wonder of the world)
22x20px Cairo, Egypt Pyramide Kheops

Reactions

United Nations

In 2007 the New7Wonders Foundation contracted a partnership with the United Nations in recognition of the efforts to promote the UN's Millennium Development Goals“. The UN stated:

The New7Wonders campaigns aim to contribute to the process of uplifting the well being and mutual respect of citizens around the world, through encouraging interaction, expression of opinion and direct participation by voting and polling on popular themes and global issues which are understandable to everyone.[20]

UNESCO

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), in a press release on June 20, 2007, reaffirmed that it has no link with the "private initiative", which it says would reflect "only the opinions of those with access to the Internet". The press release concluded:

There is no comparison between Mr. Weber’s mediatised campaign and the scientific and educational work resulting from the inscription of sites on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. The list of the 7 New Wonders of the World will be the result of a private undertaking, reflecting only the opinions of those with access to the Internet and not the entire world. This initiative cannot, in any significant and sustainable manner, contribute to the preservation of sites elected by this public.[4]

Egypt

Egyptian commentators have viewed it as competition to the status of the Great Pyramid of Giza, the only surviving monument of the original Ancient Wonders. "This is probably a conspiracy against Egypt, its civilization and monuments", wrote editorialist Al-Sayed al-Naggar in a leading state-owned daily. Egyptian Culture Minister Farouq Hosni said the project was "absurd" and described its creator, Weber, as a man "concerned primarily with self-promotion". Nagib Amin, an Egyptian expert on World Heritage Sites, has pointed out that "in addition to the commercial aspect, the vote has no scientific basis."

After the complaints from Egypt, the New7Wonders Foundation designated the Pyramids of Giza — the only remaining of the 7 Ancient Wonders of the World — as an Honorary New7Wonders Candidate, and removed them from the voting. However, the Great Pyramid of Giza is not featured in their official results web site. [13]

Brazil

In Brazil there was a campaign Vote no Cristo (Vote for the Christ) which had the support of private companies, namely telecommunications operators that stopped charging voters to make telephone calls to vote.[21] Additionally, leading corporate sponsors including Banco Bradesco and Rede Globo spent millions of reais in the effort to have the statue voted into the top seven.[1] Newsweek reports the campaign was so pervasive that:

One morning in June, Rio de Janeiro residents awoke to a beeping text message on their cell phones: “Press 4916 and vote for Christ. It’s free!” The same pitch had been popping up all over the city since late January—flashing across an electronic screen every time city-dwellers swiped their transit cards on city buses and echoing on TV infomercials that featured a reality-show celebrity posing next to the city’s trademark Christ the Redeemer statue.[1]

According to an article in Newsweek, around 10 million Brazilians had voted in the contest by early July.[1] This number is estimated as the New7Wonders Foundation never released such details about the campaign.

Peru

An aggressive campaign led by the Peruvian Ministry of Commerce and Tourism in Peru had a great impact in the media and consequently in Peruvian people that voted massively for its national wonder despite much of the Peruvian population has no Internet connection at home. The announcement of the new World Wonders generated great expectation and the election of Machu Picchu was celebrated nationwide, especially in Cusco´s main square and in Lima where President Alan Garcia hosted a ceremony.

Chile

The Chilean representative for the Easter Island Moais Alberto Hotus said that the organizer Bernard Weber gave him a letter saying that the Moais had finished eighth and were morally one of the New Seven Wonders. Hotus said he was the only participant to receive such an apology.[22]

Jordan

Queen Rania Al-Abdullah of Jordan joined the campaign to back Petra, Jordan's national treasure.[1] Despite Jordan only having a population of under 7 million people, it has been claimed that over 14 million votes were made from the country.[1] This number is estimated as the New7Wonders Foundation never released such details about the campaign.

India

A campaign to publicize the campaign in India gathered speed and it reached a climax in July 2007 with news channels, radio stations, and many celebrities asking people to vote.

Mexico

There was a campaign on the news programs to encourage people to vote for chichen Itza.

Other finalists

The other 13 finalists,[23] listed alphabetically, were:

Wonder Location
Acropolis of Athens 22x20px Athens, Greece
Alhambra 22x20px Granada, Spain
Angkor Wat 22x20px Angkor, Cambodia
Eiffel Tower 22x20px Paris, France
Hagia Sophia 22x20px Istanbul, Turkey
Kiyomizu-dera Japan Kyoto, Japan
Moai Chile Easter Island, Chile
Red Square 22x20px Moscow, Russia
Neuschwanstein 22x20px Füssen, Germany
Statue of Liberty United States New York, United States
Stonehenge 22x20px Amesbury, United Kingdom
Sydney Opera House 22x20px Sydney, Australia
Timbuktu 22x20px Mali

See also

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 1.9 Dwoskin, Elizabeth (2007-07-09), "Vote for Christ", Newsweek, ISSN 0028-9604 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 The Seven Wonders of the World, 2.0 - Los Angeles Times
  3. New7Wonders and UNESCO - separate organizations supporting common goals - new7wonders.com
  4. 4.0 4.1 UNESCO confirms that it is not involved in the “New7Wonders of the World” campaign - | UNESCO.ORG
  5. new7wonders.com: "Cristiano Ronaldo supports the New7Wonders campaign"
  6. 6.0 6.1 Questions & Answers by Bernard Weber on www.new7wonders.com
  7. indianexpress.com
  8. 8.0 8.1 BBC News: "More than a one-hit wonder?" Retrieved 2007-7-21
  9. http://www.new7wonders.com/n7w/new7news/questions_answers_070708 Bernard Weber answeres questions from the New7Wonders members
  10. "New Seven Wonders named amid controversy". http://www.merinews.com/catFull.jsp?articleID=125582. Retrieved 2007-09-07. 
  11. http://www.new7wonders.com/classic/en/about_us/milestones/ New7Wonders Milestone page
  12. BBC News Article 2 Jan 2006
  13. 13.0 13.1 http://www.new7wonders.com/classic/en/n7w/finalists/c/PyramidsofGiza/ NWOC Pyramids of Giza
  14. Opera House fading in race to be new wonder - Travel - smh.com.au
  15. "Madrid 2004". http://www.new7wonders.com/index.php?id=43. Retrieved 2007-07-07. 
  16. "UNESCO is not involved". http://portal.unesco.org/en/ev.php-URL_ID=38482&URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_SECTION=201.html. Retrieved 2007-07-07. 
  17. How New7Wonders has created Global Memory
  18. The New Yorker: "Buddhas for Bamiyan" Retrieved 2007-7-16
  19. New Seven Wonders: "The New7Wonders Foundation" Retrieved on 2007-7-18
  20. http://www.un.org/partnerships/YNewsNew7Wonders.htm United Nations Office for Partnerships: "World Votes for New Seven Wonders"
  21. "Sete Maravilhas: Brasil comemora eleição de Cristo Redentor" (in Portuguese). http://diariodigital.sapo.pt/news.asp?section_id=4&id_news=284917. Retrieved 2007-07-10. 
  22. "Líder pascuense furioso porque le dieron a la isla un triunfo moral" Las Últimas Noticias July 10 2007
  23. Finalist Page

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