Benjamin Ducke & Ralf Bodenstein, DAI, Berlin | September 04, 2017 | 16 pm
Armed conflicts dramatically expose the vulnerability of our built cultural heritage. Presently, wars in the Near and Middle East, through „collateral damage“, looting as well as targeted destruction, threaten the fabric of heritage in all its facets, including UNESCO World Heritage Sites and monuments that represent the dawn and blossoming of civilization for hundreds of millions of people. Armed conflict and direct aggression brutally effect local communities connected to these heritage sites. The conflict situation also obstructs the efforts of heritage professionals on the ground; emigration and brain-drain seriously weaken the capacities of extant heritage organisations inside the affected countries.
One major coordinated effort to respond to the tremendous challenges posed by armed conflict to Cultural Heritage, in the case of Syria and its surrounding region, is the network project „Stunde Null – A Future for the Time after the Crisis“. This project is a joint endeavor by the members of the Archaeological Heritage Network (ArcHerNet: www.archernet.org), a network of cultural heritage institutions and organisations in Germany, supported and funded by the German Federal Foreign Office. It members are combining and coordinating their competences with the aim to support cultural heritage conservation efforts internationally.
The project “Stunde Null” integrates a broad range of activities like:
– building bases of information and data as a precondition for informed decision making
– capacity building, advanced training, and education
– awareness raising
– networking and exchange in support of Syrian heritage experts
These measures serve to enable, empower, and support Syrians and people in the region in their efforts to safeguard their heritage and rebuild their countries after the crisis.
At this year‘s CHNT conference, ArcHerNet is pleased to be the sponsor organisation for the special session „Cultural Heritage and Armed Conflict“ , and also the collaborative framework for many of the projects to be presented in said session.
We hope for a stimulating and engaging discussion that will include a variety of stakeholders and multiple, perhaps contradictory, voices and perspectives.