Sharjah24: Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Deputy Ruler of Sharjah, witnessed today, Monday morning, the inauguration of the 4th Arab Forum for Cultural Heritage (2023), organised by The Regional Office for the Conservation of Cultural Heritage (ICCROM-Sharjah), in cooperation with the Arab League Educational, Cultural, and Scientific Organisation (ALECSO) and Sharjah Institute for Heritage, at ICCROM's headquarter's in University City.
Dr. Zaki Aslan, Director of ICCROM - Sharjah, pointed to the importance of preserving urban heritage in the Arab world, stressing that the forum is theme mainly focuses on the needs of the current stage and the countries' goals and priorities that fall into sustainable development 2030. He pointed out that the forum coincides with the celebration of the tenth anniversary of the founding of the office, with the support and generous hosting of the Sharjah government, as the ICCROM-Sharjah office turned the office after its establishment over more than ten years into a reference institution for the protection, promotion, and preservation of the rich cultural heritage.
In his speech, Dr. John Robbins, Chair of the Executive Board of ICCROM, discussed the relationship between three essential concepts in cultural heritage. One of these concepts is very old, urbanism. At the same time, the other two, resilience, and community care for cultural heritage, are contemporary, and the conference highlights the urgent need to address the intersection of these three themes.
Dr. Mohamed Ould Omar, Director General of ALECSO, addressed in a speech that the forum's topic reflects the importance of the results reached by research and studies related to cultural heritage and awareness of various factors involved in it. Furthermore, it deals with one of the oldest concepts known to humanity in organising living and stability, which is urbanization, and the theories, ideas, and approaches crystallized around it, on top of which is the approach that this forum addresses, which is the culture of urbanization and the resilience of heritage .
Dr. Abdulaziz Al Musallam, President of the SIH, explained that the forum met with Sharjah's great efforts, stating that the forum embodies Sharjah's vision of preserving urban heritage.
Dr. Dina Assaf, the United Nations Resident Coordinator in the United Arab Emirates, added that cultural heritage speaks out about peoples' identities identity and who we are as a human society, as the theme of the forum this year is a reminder that urbanization is not just physical structures, but rather an embodiment that reflects identity, traditions, and ambition.
The forum focuses this year on five main axes: urbanization, the importance of urbanization in enhancing the role of society in the sustainability of cultural heritage, heritage as a tool for resilience, societal adjustment and culturally-based flexibility, and inclusion of cultural heritage in policies as a methodology for community cohesion, inclusivity, and equality. The Fourth Arab Forum for Cultural Heritage sheds light on ways that enable society to preserve its cultural heritage in the face of threats. It also discusses the role of the culture in the resilience and preservation of historical environments and how they cope during and after crises.
The forum will also discuss the concept of urbanization, focusing on the societal dimension and adaptation stemming from local contexts, traditional knowledge, and others as tools for cultural heritage sustainability.
It will also serve as a platform to start interdisciplinary conversations on practices to increase the recovery of cultural heritage from conflict and climate change.