The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall undertook multiple engagements during their official visit to the United Arab Emirates. Their Royal Highnesses’ visit was devised in order to promote the U.K.’s partnership in the region in key areas, including that regarding the preservation of cultural heritage. To this end, on 08 November 2016 in Sharjah, UAE, the Prince of Wales, was greeted by His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, at ICCROM’s Regional Conservation Centre in Sharjah, UAE (ICCROM-ATHAR).
Dr Zaki Aslan, Regional Representative of ICCROM and Director of ICCROM-ATHAR, presented the Centre’s work dedicated to the safeguarding of cultural heritage in the Arab region for the benefit of local societies, individual countries and the region as a whole, through the dissemination of best practices in heritage protection and management, for education of professionals, and for raising awareness of the public.
Following this initial introduction, the Prince of Wales and HH Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah viewed an exhibition on “Best Conservation Practices in the Arab World”, held earlier this year, in which selected projects were presented as examples of best conservation work accomplished in the fields of museums and urban heritage sites in the Arab region, and the impact of these conservation projects both socially and economically.
After viewing this exhibition, the Prince of Wales and HH Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, were introduced to first aid techniques used for the stabilisation of objects during an emergency. This was done through a series of table –top exercises in which ICCROM-ATHAR staff demonstrated first aid techniques for the conservation of objects, discussing stages of a first aid plan in times of crisis, namely: salvage, stabilisation, packing and storage. Exercises like these are used in ICCROM-ATHAR’s course simulations, as it forces participants to use all their skills acquired throughout a course, for assessing and responding during complex emergency situations.
The Prince of Wales and HH Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, then met with some of the participants of ICCROM-ATHAR’s latest Regional Leadership Course on First Aid and Risk Management of Cultural Heritage in Times of Crisis, which took place in Sharjah from 4 – 31 October 2016. This course offered hands-on training aimed at preparing proactive cultural first-aiders, by exploring the tools and abilities needed to assess risks to cultural heritage and reduce the impact of such crises. Participants discussed what they learnt during the course and how they would implement the knowledge acquired upon their return to their home countries.
The visit of the Prince of Wales and HH Sheikh Dr Al Qasimi, Member of Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, concluded with the viewing of an exhibition of the Irthi Contemporary Crafts Council on preserving and modernising crafts and its work empowering women, which included a demonstration of Talli (a type of braid similar to bobbin lace) traditional art.