On 11 February 2017, the Director General of UNESCO, Mrs Irina Bokova, visited the ICCROM-ATHAR Regional Conservation Centre in Sharjah as part of launch for the #Unite4Heritage campaign in the United Arab Emirates.
His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, had presided over the launch ceremony for the #Unite4Heritage campaign earlier in the day at the Sharjah Fort (Al-Hisn).
The ICCROM-ATHAR event included an opening speech by Dr Stefano De Caro, ICCROM’s Director General, and welcome remarks by Dr Zaki Aslan, Director of the Centre and by Mr Abdulaziz Al-Mussallam, Director of the Sharjah Institute for Heritage and member of ICCROM’s Council. The event also included lectures at the theatre, an exhibition on the Centre’s activities for the Arab States, and demonstrations of first aid interventions to cultural heritage objects in times of conflicts.
The official launch of the #Unite4Heritage campaign earlier that day concluded at ICCROM’s Regional Center for the Arab Region, a region that has been experiencing severe cultural heritage destruction in recent years. The visit occurred with these dramatic events as a backdrop, underlining the importance to unite for our shared cultural heritage. ICCROM and ICCROM-ATHAR therefore are strong supporters and partners in the #Unite4Heritage campaign, and wish to promote their efforts further.
The event also demonstrates ICCROM’s longstanding partnership with UNESCO since its creation, and consolidates the work on the various areas of competence of both organizations in the field of cultural heritage conservation, management and protection. As a regional office of ICCROM, the Regional Conservation Centre in Sharjah has continued its collaboration with UNESCO field offices in the region to respond to needs of Members States to protect the endangered heritage assets in the region.
The visit welcomed guests such as Mrs Sharon Park, ICCROM Council Member and Associate Director at the Smithsonian’s Institute, and the Director of UNESCO – Doha’s Field Office, Ms Anna Paolini.