01.04.2015 -

Join UNESCO’s #Unite4Heritage campaign!

#Unite4Heritage, a social media campaign initiated by UNESCO, strives to counter the propaganda of cultural cleansing and the destruction of cultural heritage by mobilising young people across the world for its protection. It was conceived in response to the destruction and pillage of cultural heritage in conflict zones, most recently in Iraq.

It was launched by UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova at Baghdad University on the 28th of March and especially wants to empower Iraqi youth in the protection of the country’s heritage. It builds on an initiative started by Baghdad University students on 5 March to protest videos of destruction and looting at Mosul Museum, the historical city of Nimrud and the World Heritage site of Hatra. “Today, we send a clear message,” said the Director-General. “We do not accept cultural cleansing and we will stand together to do everything we can to stop it.”

The key principle of the campaign is to build a different narrative about heritage in order to respond to the rhetoric of the extremists. Responsible people cannot just condemn the destruction. They need to share a counter-narrative to resist propaganda.

When extremists claim that there is no “world heritage”, the campaign will encourage people to unite for heritage – by showing pictures of people, groups and organizations that claim this heritage as their own – including Muslims who claim pre-Islamic heritage as their own.

When extremists claim that pre-Islamic heritage is not important and must be destroyed, the campaign will explain why this heritage is important, and tell stories about its significance and value, including what it has contributed to the advancement of humankind.

UNESCO calls upon you to take a photo of your favourite heritage site and explain why it is important to you. Or take a selfie holding a sign of the campaign’s hashtag: #Unite4Heritage. Post it on your social media account and tag #Unite4Heritage!


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