» Director-General praises Dr Maamoun Adbulkarim’s commitment as Director General for Antiquities and Museums of...
04.10.2017 - ODG

Director-General praises Dr Maamoun Adbulkarim’s commitment as Director General for Antiquities and Museums of Syria between 2012 and 2017

© All Rights Reserved -Dr Maamoun Abdulkarim in front of Bel’s Temple in Palmyra

UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova commended Dr. Maamoun Abdulkarim at the end of his 5-years’ mandate as Head of the Directorate General for Antiquities and Museums of Syria (DGAM). She praised his unfailing commitment, tenacity and outstanding contribution to the safeguarding of cultural heritage in Syria since 2012

“When history books teach children about those who contributed to conserving Syrian heritage during the devastating conflict in Syria, Dr Maamoun Abdulkarim will be at the top of the list, along with all others who have been so dedicated and deserving of the world’s respect for their relentless, humanist commitment”, said UNESCO Director General, Irina Bokova.

"I wish to thank Dr Maamoun Abdulkarim for all these years of collaboration between UNESCO and the DGAM working the sake of humanity’s common good. I welcome Dr Mahmoud Hammoud as new Director General of the DGAM, and I wish to reaffirm UNESCO’s commitment to work side by side with all the professionals and associations active on the ground to safeguard Syrian heritage, which represents the soul of the people in Syria and a force to build peace.”    

Appointed head of the DGAM in August 2012, Dr Abdulkarim supervised 2500 civil servants across the country, working relentlessly on a remarkable heritage protection campaign. A tireless advocate and world-renowned expert, he catalysed wide-ranging international mobilization. Convinced that Syrian heritage belongs to all Syrians and that it must be kept out of politics, he called on the international community to unite and safeguard the UNESCO World Heritage sites which were inscribed on the list in danger in 2013 as well as the cultural objects displayed in the museums of Syria. Supervising the sheltering of thousands of archaeological objects, he called upon his fellow citizens to unite in protecting these ancient testimonies of a common identity and invited them to fight against illegal excavations and illicit trafficking. As a result, more than three hundred thousand objects and archives survived destruction and looting. DGAM professionals devoted themselves with great commitment to this cause, often at the risk of their own lives, and UNESCO pays tribute to the memory of those who perished to keep alive the traces of a civilization and its universal values, such as the archaeologist Khaled al-Assad brutally assassinated in Palmyra. This fight is not over and UNESCO remains more determined than ever to help lead it.

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