Under the patronage of His Highness Dr. Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammad Al Qasimi, and in partnership with the Government of Sharjah, the Arab League Educational Cultural and Scientific Organization (ALECSO), ICCROM-ATHAR Regional Centre organized a review meeting of the 4th Core Regional Course “Management and Conservation of Cultural Heritage in the Arab Region: Sites and Museum Collections” between 10 and 14 November 2013. The first phase of the course was held in November/December 2012, followed by a second phase in which course participants worked on implementing conservation and management projects in their home countries. With the help of the ICCROM-ATHAR Regional Conservation Centre’s experts, the participants contributed, through these projects, to applying innovative approaches in the fields of conservation and management of cultural heritage at the local and/or the national levels.
Eighteen participants from thirteen Arab countries took part in this one-year project coming from Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Palestine, Qatar, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen, each presenting a project relevant to what was acquired in the course.
This meeting served as a platform for the participants to exchange experiences in implementing their projects, and to share methods they devised to ensure effective and realistic application of their acquired knowledge. The meeting was an opportunity to propose practical solutions to the challenges which conservation specialists face in the Arab region.
The meeting comprised as well, sessions addressing ongoing projects in Sharjah in particular and the United Arab Emirates in general. These projects included work of former participants in the Heritage Area of Sharjah, Khorfakkan, Khor Dibba, as well as follow-up to documentation work at Ad-Dur Temple in Umm Al-Quwain. The latter project has been taken forward through partnership with the National Council of Tourism and Antiquities of UAE, where ICCROM-ATHAR Centre’s experts presented to the participants on site conservation plans, which will be implemented early next year.
New to this ICCROM-ATHAR review meeting is the inclusion of special sessions that provided participants with communication skills related to information sharing. These skills are meant to be utilized to communicate cultural heritage values both to decision-makers and to the general public at large.
At the closing session, attended by representatives of the partner institutions, Department of Culture and Information, University of Sharjah, American University of Sharjah, Sharjah Museums Department and the National Council of Tourism and Antiquities in the UAE. Dr. Zaki Aslan, the Director of ICCROM-ATHAR Regional Centre, thanked His Highness, Ruler of Sharjah, for his generous patronage of the Centre’s activities and emphasized the importance of the participants’ projects which will later be a part of the joint Higher Diploma/Masters Degree in Cultural Heritage Conservation Management to be conducted in partnership with the University of Sharjah. The Director of Heritage and Cultural Affairs in the Department of Culture and Information, Mr. Abdulaziz Al Musallam, highlighted the importance of the programme and the need to follow up on the work of the participants in their home countries. The Dean of the College of Engineering at the University of Sharjah, Dr. Sabah Al Kass, seized the opportunity to stress the vitality of the on-going collaboration between ICCROM-ATHAR and the university. The participants expressed their appreciation to ICCROM-ATHAR Centre for organizing this follow-up meeting and their gratitude to the continuous support of the Government of Sharjah, UAE, and the partnership with ALECSO.