12.02.2018 - UNESCO Office in Doha

UNESCO participates in Arab Cultural Heritage Forum in Sharjah


The UAE hosted the first Arab Cultural Heritage Forum in Sharjah from 6-8 February 2018, bringing together a range of experts to analyze the state of cultural heritage in the region.

Director of the UNESCO GCC and Yemen Office, Anna Paolini, represented the Organization at the event. Opening the Forum, the Director capitalized on her decennial experience in the region, noting that the Forum is a unique opportunity for experts in different cultural fields including performing arts, to brainstorm together and open channels of communication and knowledge sharing on best practices across the region.

Organized under the Patronage of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi of Sharjah, UAE and the International Center for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property’s (ICRROM) Regional Centre in Sharjah, the Forum intended to serve as the “step first to inform future directions aimed at aimed at establishing thought and conceptual foundations for approaches to cultural heritage conservation in the region.” ICCROM was established by UNESCO in 1956 and serves as an Advisory Body to the World Heritage Convention.

Among the Forum’s main objectives was to recognize cultural heritage conversation management in the Arab Region. Emphasizing the need to promote and preserve place and art in the region, the Forum was a unique opportunity to discuss the concept of cultural heritage for the region, the importance of defining it in a contextually relevant manner, and in identifying where more work is needed. The challenges posed by the urgency of sustainable and urban development required participants to explore thought-provoking questions, including on the importance of local or regional ownership, the role of media and education, and the protection of cultural heritage from violence.  

Anna Paolini moderated a session on how cultural heritage in the Arab region is viewed from the external perspective. Participants included global experts in architecture, planning, and conversation and preservation.

Participants stressed the central role of education and information sharing of different positive experiences and narratives at all levels within the region but also outside the region. This is even more necessary in present circumstances to foster mutual understanding, capitalizing on common heritage values and the contribution that the culture of the Arab region made to the world. 

Recommendations from the Forum will be presented to the Ministries of Culture meeting organized by ALECSO.

For more information on the Forum, please visit ICCROM: https://www.iccrom.org/arab-cultural-heritage-forum

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