Date: 13 October2015
(To download a pdf of this factsheet, click here: Factsheet heritage for Peace October 2015)
The association Heritage for Peace is a new NGO registered in Girona, Spain on 28 February 2013.
Heritage for Peace is a “…non-profit organization whose mission is to support all heritage workers in their efforts to protect and safeguard a country’s cultural heritage during armed conflict. As an international group of heritage workers we believe that cultural heritage, and the protection thereof, can be used as a common ground for dialogue and therefore as a tool to enhance peace. We call on colleagues of all religions and ethnicities to enter into a dialogue and work together to safeguard their mutual heritage…” (Mission Statement)
Heritage for Peace has been created to assist our colleagues working in conflict situations to protect their heritage to the best of their, and our, abilities. The organisation is currently made up of twenty volunteers from nine countries who are all heritage experts. Cultural heritage is of global importance and the protection of it should be a concern for all of us. It is through the past we may find support for future peace.
In organizing our work Heritage for Peace remains impartial and continues to call on all parties associated with a conflict to fulfil their obligations under international law in protecting the country’s precious cultural heritage sites and institutions.
Our NGO is one of the few that focuses to support a country’s heritage during a conflict. We believe that
- waiting to support a country’s threatened heritage in dire straits until the conflict is over (post-conflict) is often too late
- cultural heritage and the protection thereof, even during a conflict, can bring people closer together and as such can become a tool for the enhancement of peace
Since our founding we are concentrating on the present violent conflict in Syria but our aim is to continue our work after the Syrian conflict is over.
Our initiatives and results to date include:
- ‘Resources’, an electronic platform created with information for heritage workers operating during a violent conflict on heritage protection of all sectors (March 2013).
- ‘Basic Tools to Protect Cultural Heritage in Syria Now’ Workshop, organized for the staff of the Directorate-General for Antiquities and Museums (DGAM) at their request to assist them in protecting and safeguarding Syrian archaeological sites, historic monuments and museums. Discussion points and presentations were: Needs Assessment, Lessons learned, Resources, Other measures, Post-conflict situation (28 April – 1 May 2013).
- Providing assistance to facilitate the participation of Syrian museum workers at the conference of Arab Museums in Beirut organized by the American University of Beirut (May 2013).
- Formation of a Crisis Team in Damascus to facilitate more effective communication. (June 2013).
- ‘No-strike list for Aleppo’, drawn up and published on the ANCBS website on July 4 2013 in cooperation with the UK Blue Shield (June 2013).
- ‘Needs Assessment’, designed as an e-Survey for DGAM (Sept 2013).
- Resolution for Geneva talks on Peace in Syria Jan 2014, drawn up in agreement with the Syrian National Coalition. This Resolution was for discussion at the Geneva Peace Talks (Jan 2014), requesting all warring parties to protect the Syrian cultural heritage during the present conflict.
- ‘Damage Mailing List’, a bi-weekly e-newsletter which continually updates subscribers with news about the damage to Syrian heritage in the present crisis (since March 2014).
- ‘Towards a protection of the Syrian cultural heritage: A summary of the international responses, Volume I (March 2011 – March 2014)’, report on international actions (April 2014).
- Towards a protection of the Syrian cultural heritage: A summary of the international responses, Volume II (April 2014 – September 2014), second report on international actions (October 2014).
- ‘Towards a protection of the Syrian cultural heritage: A summary of the international responses, Volume III (October 2014 – September 2014)’, third report on international actions (In prep).
- ‘Conflict and Heritage: Lessons to Safeguard Syrian Heritage’, an international conference organized in Santander, Spain (23-25 April 2014), followed by the Santander Statement and Outcomes.
- Survey of Archaeological Site Directors in Syria:Heritage for Peace issued an invitation to all foreign mission archaeological site directors to participate in a brief survey, of those who prior to 2011 were directing archaeological research projects in Syria (June 2014), to collate information about the condition of the sites.
- ‘Task Force on Antiquities and Museums’ design, drawn up for the interim Syrian Ministry of Culture and Family (July 2014).
- Damage Assessment for Cultural Heritage Training for staff of the Syrian Interim Ministry of Culture and Family Affairs, 4 day train-the-trainer training for staff of the interim ministry working inside Syria in cooperation with the interim ministry of culture (23-26 November 2014)
- Development of software to assist in damage monitoring, in partnership with the Syrian Heritage Archive Project of the Museum für Islamische Kunst and the Deutsches Archäologisches Institut (ongoing, August 2015)
- Development of a project to help children in refugee camps connect to their Syrian heritage, in partnership with the Syrian Heritage Archive Project of the Museum für Islamische Kunst (pending funding as of August 2015)
- Developing proposals to assist volunteers in Syria to protect their heritage in areas that currently lack heritage staff (pending funding as of August 2015).
Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or for any other reason.
Heritage for Peace
Isber Sabrine MA (chair)
René Teijgeler (secretary)