07.11.2016 - UNESCO Office in Doha

'Together for Heritage' Campaign launched to protect WH Al Zubarah Archaeological Site in Qatar


More than 50 young volunteers from Qatar and around the world have begun a 20-day project supported by Qatar Museums and UNESCO to conserve the historical Al Zubarah heritage site, recently named a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the best-preserved examples of an 18th century merchant town in the Gulf region.

A welcome ceremony was organized on 6 November 2016 to launch the campaign in the presence of Mansoor bin Ebrahim al-Mahmoud, Qatar Museums acting CEO and adviser to chairperson HE Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani and Anna Paolini, Director of UNESCO Doha Office, along with all volunteers participating in the project.

The campaign, which runs until November 25, forms part of Unesco’s World Heritage Volunteers (WHV) ‘Together for Heritage’ campaign, an initiative that sits within the framework of the Unesco World Heritage Education (WHE) Programme, aimed at increasing awareness and reinforcing the importance of conserving and protecting world heritage. The initiative helps to develop youth appreciation and respect for heritage and cultural diversity, creating a positive attitude towards heritage preservation.

During the project, volunteers aged 18-30 from Spain, Nigeria, Germany, Iraq, Jordan, Mexico, Egypt, and UAE as well as 12 volunteers from Qatar, will take part in awareness raising and hands on activities at Al Zubarah fort and other parts of the site, all focused on preventive conservation and preservation techniques. 

Workshops and conservation activities, organised by Qatar Museums (QM), UNESCO and the Qatar Tourism Authority will include learning about techniques used in conservation and traditional building techniques in Qatar, how to dismantle weak parts of buildings, how to conserve excavated areas of the site, how to apply and remove plaster, and how to write documentation and conservation reports about the site. 

Volunteers will also have the chance to immerse themselves in learning about the day-to-day life in a World Heritage property and engage in intercultural exchanges and activities with local communities, including storytelling, lectures and competitions.

“Al Zubarah is of huge importance to Qatar and at Qatar Museums we are committed to preserving this historical site, that is recognised for both its human legacy and its significance to many Gulf nationals,” said Mansoor bin Ebrahim Al Mahmoud, QM Acting CEO and Advisor to QM Chairperson H E Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani.

“The ‘Together for Heritage’ campaign is a wonderful initiative by UNESCO and we are hugely grateful for our volunteers, who will learn not only about Qatar’s heritage, but also learn new skills, express new ideas and help to protect and preserve this historical site to the highest standards for future generations of visitors to enjoy,” he said.

Anna Paolini, Director of UNESCO Doha Office, during her opening speech, mentioned that "being recognized as a World Heritage site means that the site bears cultural historical scientific and other associated values of universal importance and of collective interest for the humanity. For these reasons, the protection and conservation practices of sites on the World Heritage list should be even more  careful to make sure their significance and outstanding universal values continue to be preserved and transmitted".

Al Zubarah, situated approximately 100km north-west of Doha, was founded in the mid-18th century. The town developed into a centre of pearling and international trade and rose to become the country’s largest and most important settlement.

The Al Zubarah Volunteers Program is sponsored by Ali bin Ali Group, Seashore Group and Ooredoo.

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