New7Wonders of Nature
New7Wonders of Nature is an initiative started in 2007 to create a list of seven natural wonders chosen by people through a global poll. It is being led by Canadian-Swiss Bernard Weber and organized by the New7Wonders Foundation, a Swiss-based, government-controlled foundation. This campaign follows the New Seven Wonders of the World, which attracted 100 million votes from around the world.
Stages of the campaign
The Official New7Wonders of Nature campaign started in 2007, immediately after the campaign to elect the man-made New Seven Wonders of the World, in which more than 100 million votes were cast. From over 440 participants representing over 220 countries and through a national qualification and race to become one of the Top 77, as well as the recommendations of the Panel of Experts lead by Prof. Federico Mayor, the list of 28 “Official Finalist Candidates” has been determined. Voting is underway and will continue throughout 2010 and into 2011. During this time, the New7Wonders World Tour is planned to visit each of the finalists to allow them to present themselves to the voters across the globe. The Official Declaration of the New7Wonders of Nature will be in 2011.
The 28 finalists
New Seven Wonders of the World
New Seven Wonders of the World
was a project that attempted to update the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World concept with a modern list of wonders. A popularity poll was led by Canadian-Swiss Bernard Weber and organized by the Swiss-based, government-controlled New7Wonders Foundation, with winners announced on July 7, 2007 in Lisbon, Portugal.
The New7Wonders Foundation claimed that more than 100 million votes were cast through the Internet or by telephone. Nothing prevented multiple votes, so the poll was considered “decidedly unscientific”. 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”.
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. After supporting the New7Wonders Foundation at the beginning of the campaign, by providing advice on nominee selection, The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) distanced itself from the undertaking in 2007.After the final announcement, New7Wonders said it didn’t earn anything from the exercise and barely recovered its investment. The New7Wonders Foundation, established in 2001, relied on private donations and the sale of broadcast rights and received no public funding or taxpayers’ money.
In 2007 the foundation launched a similar contest, called New7Wonders of Nature, which will be the subject of voting until the summer of 2011.
The origin of the idea of seven wonders of the world dates back to HerodotusCallimachus (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. (484 BC – 425 BC) and
According to the New7Wonders milestone page, 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. To be included on the new list, the wonders had to have been built 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, by its panel of seven world leading architects from five continents: 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.
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.
Many monuments were supported by dedicated websites or strong placements on national websites. National figures and celebrities promoted the New7Wonders campaign in many countries. New7Wonders stated that it saw 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.
The theme song of the contest was written by Tony Jameson of the UK medieval folk/rock band, The Dolmen. Members of the band performed the song live at the Lisbon ceremonies.
In alphabetical order:
|Giza Pyramid Complex
(The last remaining wonder of the ancient world)
|Christ the Redeemer
O Cristo Redentor
|Rio de Janeiro, Brazil|
|Great Wall of China
萬里長城 Wànlǐ Chángchéng
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.||”|
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.||”|
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.
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 and sms messages to vote. Additionally, leading corporate sponsors including Banco BradescoRede Globo spent millions of reais in the effort to have the statue voted into the top seven. Newsweek reports the campaign was so pervasive that: and
|“||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.||”|
According to an article in Newsweek, around 10 million Brazilians had voted in the contest by early July. This number is estimated as the New7Wonders Foundation never released such details about the campaign.
An intensive campaign led by the Peruvian Ministry of Commerce and Tourism in Peru had a great impact in the media and consequently Peruvian people voted massively for its national wonder. 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.
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.
Queen Rania Al-Abdullah of Jordan joined the campaign to back Petra, Jordan’s national treasure. 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. This number is estimated as the New7Wonders Foundation never released such details about the campaign.
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 for the Taj Mahal. Some mobile companies also made the messaging free for the last few days of voting.
There was a campaign on the news programs to encourage people to vote for Chichen Itzá.
The other 13 finalists, listed alphabetically, were: