12.02.2017 - ODG

UNESCO launches #Unite4Heritage in Sharjah

“I must say that I am deeply moved, and even impressed, by the mobilization of young citizens, especially in the Arab World, in Cairo, in Amman, in Beirut, in Baghdad and today in Sharjah, who have stood up to share this message,” declared Director-General Irina Bokova, at the launch of the #Unite4Heritage campaign in the United Arab Emirates. The launch event took place on 11 February 2017 in the presence of H.E. Sultan bin Muhammad Al-Qasimi, Ruler of Sharjah, and of Sheikha Bodour Bint Sultan Al Qasimi, Chairperson of Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq).

“Along with a humanitarian crisis, we are seeing unprecedented attacks on the cultural diversity of humanity –what I call cultural cleansing, an attempt to erase all forms of diversity and freedom,” said the Director-General underscoring that this unprecedented war strategy aims at tearing societies over the long term.

The Director-General highlighted that this is a battle for the hearts and minds, a battle for tolerance and human rights. “This is why I launched the #Unite4Heritage campaign in March 2015, to counter extremist propaganda and the destruction of cultural heritage, and to mobilize young people across the world for its protection,” she said.

The Director-General called on each and everyone to unite for heritage. “Heritage is who we are, it is a force for resilience, a source of strength to look into the future with confidence.”

“Tolerance and acceptance are key to preserve memory and human heritage. Let’s all unite for one purpose which is to preserving our collective wealth, our heritage” said H.E. Sultan bin Muhammad Al-Qasimi, Ruler of Sharjah.

Irina Bokova commended the strong political commitment of the United Arab Emirates, through the recent International Conference for the Protection of Cultural Heritage in Conflict Areas, held in Abu Dhabi in December 2016.

“The Abu Dhabi Declaration and the establishment of an international fund for the protection of cultural heritage bear witness to the international community’s commitment to heritage,” declared Irina Bokova.

#Unite4Heritage is a global movement powered by UNESCO that aims to celebrate and safeguard cultural heritage and diversity around the world. Launched in response to the unprecedented recent attacks on heritage, the campaign calls on everyone to celebrate the places, objects and cultural traditions that make the world such a rich and vibrant place.

On the same day, the Director-General visited the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM) - Athar Regional Conservation Center, the Islamic Civilization Museum of Sharjah, the Dr Sultan Al Qasimi Centre of Gulf Studies (Al-Dara) and the Regional Centre for Educational Planning, UNESCO Category II Centre (RCEP).

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