Participants stressed the importance of the Arab Cultural Heritage Forum in promoting awareness of the conservation of the region’s identity

Experts and researchers who participated in the Arab Cultural Heritage Forum, organized by ICCROM-Sharjah in cooperation with the Government of Sharjah/ Sharjah Heritage Institute and held from 6 to 8 February 2018 in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, appreciated the importance of this international encounter, which brought together a number of the most significant thinkers in this field and from different countries from the Arab region on one platform to exchange ideas and proposals on one of the most important challenges facing cultural heritage in the Arab region.

The Forum was inaugurated by His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qassimi, Member of the Supreme Council of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Sharjah. HE Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development, Ms. Noura Al Kaabi, attended the forum and delivered the speech of the UAE government, as well as a large number of personalities, dignitaries and Directors General of cultural heritage institutions and/ or their representatives, from the United Arab Emirates, the Arab Region and other parts of the World (UNESCO, ISESCO, IRCICA, the Arab World Institute).

The Arab Cultural Heritage Forum, the first of its kind was held under the slogan: “Knowledge… the Future of Our Heritage”, with the participation of more than 150 experts around the world. According to experts, the Forum discussed important issues regarding the notion of cultural heritage in the Arab Region, challenges facing cultural heritage of the region and the development of strategies that would contribute to cultural heritage protection and raise the awareness among communities of its significance and dissemination of its benefits to communities.

The participants considered that the Forum, which dealt with the threats to cultural heritage, especially in countries that suffer from instability and conflicts, contributed to convey realities and discuss ideas and mechanisms that will preserve and manage cultural heritage with all related risks. They also stressed the importance of the Forum, which enabled the gathering of specialists from different countries of the world in one place to discuss the issues of cultural heritage taking into consideration the particularity of each country to protect its heritage and reformulate the notion of cultural heritage in specific time and place.

The participants thanked His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qassimi, for his generous support and sponsorship of the Forum. They agreed that the outcomes will constitute a framework for the development of heritage conservation policies in the Arab Region, which will be presented at the upcoming conference of Ministers of Culture in the Arab States, and stressed that translating the recommendations and discussions of the Forum into immediate and achievable actions, is necessary to promote the awareness of the protection of cultural heritage, spread its notions, and prevent the dangers that might affect it negatively.

At the closing session, the Director General of ICCROM (Dr. Webber Ndoro), underlined that the Arab Cultural Heritage Forum, through continuous communication with the researchers and experts involved, constitutes a framework for the Arab and International specialists to follow up through joint research work and achieving its objectives. The recommendations of the Forum will be published to document and disseminate its outcomes for a wider benefit to professional communities and the public.