Dr. Setfano De Caro, Director General of ICCROM, and Dr. Zaki Aslan, Director of ICCROM-ATHAR Regional Conservation Centre in Sharjah (ICCROM-ATHAR) attended the Fifth National Built Heritage Forum, which was held from 29 November 2015 to 3 December 2015 in Qassim, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Organised by the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities, the conference built on themes explored by the four previous forums which contributed to the development of the management, and professional and legislative measures relevant to the field of built heritage in the Saudi Arabia. Focused on the theme “From Oblivion to Investment”, the forum addressed issues such as conservation approaches in the Gulf and the Arab region, the conservation of historic mosques and religious heritage, as well as the management of built heritage areas.
This forum discussed the vision promoted by His Royal Highness, Prince Sultan bin Salman bin AbdulAziz, President of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities, in which he emphasises the need to invest in built heritage for the benefit of societies residing in historic areas. Echoing this direction, Dr. Stefano De Caro delivered a lecture on ICCROM’s work in the region and ways to benefit Saudi Arabia in the field. Moreover, Dr. Zaki Aslan spoke about the necessity to devise regional views and approaches to the conservation of built cultural heritage associated with the living traditions and the intangible dimensions and meanings that underpin the conservation process in an Arab context.
In this occasion, Prof. Mishary Bin Abdullah Alnu’aim, Supervisor General of the National Built Heritage Center said: “The issue is not just preserving heritage, but preserving the tale narrated by historic sites. This forum serves as a social and media vessel for a programme which emphasises the economic aspect carried by these historic sites.
The conference also included a session for the distribution of HRH Sultan bin Salman prize for university projects in the field of built heritage.
Furthermore, twenty two thematic workshops and sessions were conducted as part of the conference at King Khalid Cultural Center, attended by more than 100 Arab and international experts.
The forum also hosted an array of traditional activities and an exhibition in which several governmental institutions and tourism development councils were presented. The Sultanate of Oman participated in the event as guest of honour, holding an exhibition to promote knowledge about the rich and diverse Omani cultural heritage.