http://www.unesco.org/culture/ich/en/state/Syrian Arab Republic

Institutions, organizations, contacts

National institutions

Permanent Delegation of the Syrian Arab Republic to UNESCO
Maison de l’UNESCO
Bureau M8.12
1, rue Miollis
75732 PARIS Cedex 15
dl.syrie@unesco-delegations.org

Syrian National Commission for UNESCO
Ministry of Education
Al-Mazraa
Al-Shahbandar Square
Syrian Arab Republic

ncom@scs-net.org; ncom@aloola.sy; 7110846@gmail.com (SG)

Designated authority for the use of the emblem:

Ministry of Culture
Ministère de la Culture
Immeuble Hatab
Rue Madame Curie, Verdun
Beyrouth
Ferdane
Beyrouth
00961 1 756314
omarhala_48@hotmail.com

Read more on the use the emblem

UNESCO’s contacts

UNESCO headquarters (ICH Section)
Regional officer:
Calvo Pérez, Marina (m.calvo@unesco.org)

Accredited NGOs located in this country

Name, address and sourceActivities related to ICH
الأمانة السورية للتنمية
The Syria Trust for Development
Trust syrien pour le développement [fr]
24 Alexandria St.
East Mazzeh
P.O. Box 2783
Damascus
SYRIAN ARAB REPUBLIC
Tel.: +963 11 6121185

Accreditation request No. 90251: English
Decision-making meeting: 4.GA - 2012

Year of creation: 2007
Domain(s):

- oral traditions and expressions
- performing arts
- social practices, rituals and festive events
- knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe
- traditional craftsmanship
- other
- Traditional cooking and food heritage

Safeguarding measures:

- identification, documentation, research (including inventory-making)
- preservation, protection
- promotion, enhancement
- transmission, (non-)formal education
- revitalization

Main countries where active:

Syrian Arab Republic

Objectives:
The Syria Trust for Development empowers Syrians from all walks of life to play an active role in building and shaping their society. Syria’s future depends on its people; therefore, The Trust seeks to encourage individuals and local communities to be agents for positive change. This mission is reflected through the work of five divisions with the following focuses: learning, rural development, research, and culture and heritage.
In conformity with the spirit of the convention, The Trust plays a key role in preserving intangible heritage through Rawafed, its cultural project. Rawafed’s mission is to empower Syrians to use their creativity and their cultural resources to improve their quality of life and to affect positive change in their community by providing them with tools and training, and by working with partners to promote an enabling cultural environment.
Rawafed’s objectives:
• Cultural players, communities and institutions empowered to play a vital role in the activation of the cultural sector to stimulate the social, economic and human development of their communities
• Key development players and influencers see culture as an important pillar of development, and are using tangible results, new information and networks to integrate culture into local and national planning
• New and emerging cultural organisations play an active role in the development of the civil society sector using effective frameworks and models to strengthen the role of civil society in Syria
Rawafed works to achieve these objectives through initiatives that use a range of components including capacity building, networking and partnerships, and research, including tangible and intangible cultural heritage. Rawafed is particularly concerned with raising awareness about the value of the latter as it is often neglected in Syria and the public sector (in the cultural field) focuses heavily on historical sites.
It is also important to note that many Trust’s divisions indirectly benefit and further the preservation of Syria’s intangible heritage. For example, the Village Business Incubator (implemented by Firdos, the rural development division) promotes rural women’s participation in the labour market by supporting their small enterprises, including traditional handicrafts inspired from Syria’s history and its coastal areas (Afrin).
Activities:
Rawafed, the Cultural Project of the Syria Trust for Development, works to achieve its objectives through two main programmes, Incubating Culture and Arts and Investment in Cultural Resources. While the former works towards building an enabling environment for cultural institutions by supporting cultural players to develop their capacities, it is through the latter that Rawafed is actively involved in safeguarding Syria’s intangible cultural heritage.
Investment in Cultural Resources contributes to the creation of an enabling environment for individuals, community-based groups and organisations to launch a long-term investment in cultural resources (including natural and food heritage, craftsmanship, traditional performance and social practices, oral traditions). The programme aims to raise communities’ awareness of the value and potential of local cultural resources, develop their capacities to invest in these and to promote their unique heritage, and enhance dialogue with decision-makers and partners. It has developed a number of tools to identify and document resources and to engage with and activate community members.
Between 2009 and 2011 the programme undertook a pilot participatory cultural mapping project in the Wadi Al Nadara region in Homs governorate. As the first initiative of its kind in Syria, the project started out by building the capacities of the local research team. Throughout the mapping process, a data base of cultural resources was built with the aim of documenting local resources – mostly intangible – and defining development opportunities using these resources. A mapping toolkit to be adapted for wider replication has been drafted. A series of booklets providing detailed documentation of ten intangible cultural resources is being published.
The research moreover identified a number of projects to be implemented to safeguard local heritage, such as the importance of water springs in the region under study. A project is currently underway to renovate some of the existing springs to be used as outdoor educational museums showcasing their historical, natural and communal significance.
One important aspect of Rawafed’s work is to advocate for greater participation of local communities in cultural planning, and to ensure the latter takes Syria’s cultural diversity into consideration.
Personnel concerned with intangible cultural heritage:
Nada Osman Alaeddine – Rawafed Director: Since 2007, Nada has played an integral role in the inception and development of Rawafed. She has nearly 20 years of academic and practical experience in culture, business and development, both in Syria and abroad. At Rawafed, Nada has worked diligently with her team to create cultural development programmes with long-lasting impact. She holds a number of professional cultural management qualifications and has participated in several UNESCO workshops, including on managing heritage sites, on cultural mapping and on the economic impact of heritage.
Shaza Kandakji – Programme Manager Investment in Cultural Resources: Shaza has extensive experience in the field of creativity and management. She has previously worked for the IOM and UNICEF, and was Project Coordinator for the British Council’s Creativity and Governance programme (2004-2007) and Regional Project Manager for the Creativity Programme (2008-2010), where she was responsible for coordinating projects across the MENA region. Shaza has managed the Investment in Cultural Resources programme at Rawafed since 2010. She participated in a UNESCO workshop on intangible cultural heritage in Cairo.
Maya Shurbaji – Programme Officer Investment in Cultural Resources: Maya has a strong background in cultural management, and holds a Masters in the subject from the Open University of Catalonia in Spain. She has extensive experience in administration as well as community outreach, which will be invaluable to the ongoing development of both the programme and the community projects.
Nadia von Maltzahn – Research and Development Manager at Rawafed: Nadia joined the team in January 2011 to head the Research and Development unit, having completed her PhD on Cultural Diplomacy between Syria and Iran at Oxford University. She is responsible for directing Rawafed’s research needs, and is preparing a project to assess gaps in Syria’s governance of culture, in which cultural diversity will be emphasised to ensure that intangible cultural heritage and other forms of cultural expression are integrated into Syria’s long-term strategic planning and cultural policies.
Cooperation:
Rawafed, the Cultural Project of the Syria Trust for Development, consulted and worked closely with members of local communities to ensure their engagement with and participation in the programme throughout its work in Wadi Al Nadara. Throughout the research phase, local community representatives have been trained in research methods, and people in the 39 villages of the region have been engaged in the planning and design of the mapping process. Through participatory research, eleven specialised studies were conducted on religious landmarks, herbs, music, architecture, food, festivals, poetry, trees, historical landmarks, daily life objects and ethnic doctrines.
Between January and March 2011, Rawafed conducted a series of workshops in Wadi Al Nadara in order to activate community members to invest in their local cultural resources and be active citizens. Initiatives coming out of these workshops include a project to revive traditional handicrafts in the region that are in danger of dying out. The project aims to create opportunities for older and younger generations to interact as they work together to ensure traditional skills and handicrafts are passed on through training and awareness campaigns. Another initiative is to activate one of the village’s cultural centre, to reinforce the crucial role such a centre can play in the revitalisation of the lives of community members. This initiative aims to breathe life in the centre through activities such as poetry evenings, considering the richness of popular poetry in the region’s culture but lack of opportunities to publicly recite it and pass it on to younger generations.
The project to preserve and restore water springs in the region is implemented with the full involvement of local communities, who will eventually be managing the outdoor museums. These springs are an integral part of the region’s identity, with water sources taking on mythic proportions in traditional stories, poetry, literature and folklore handed down from generation to generation.
In addition to local communities, Rawafed works closely with both local and national decision makers, as well as the private sector, in order to stimulate development in planning processes in Syria in the culture and heritage sectors and advocate for local cultural planning.