DGR, Roman entities explore cooperation to protect heritage

February 22, 2024 / 6:06 PM
Sharjah24: To enhance global cooperation in the preservation of cultural heritage and underscore Sharjah's initiatives and journey in safeguarding and maintaining heritage, representatives from Sharjah's cultural institutions have explored avenues for collaboration and partnerships with the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM) and cultural institutions in Rome, Italy.
The delegation, led by Sheikh Fahim Al Qasimi, Chairman of the Department of Government Relations (DGR) in Sharjah, highlighted the emirate’s projects and efforts to protect and preserve cultural heritage through comprehensive and sustainable development plans.

The discussions revolved around emphasising the immense global importance of cultural heritage and addressing challenges posed by environmental, societal, and political changes. The talks also evaluated the most effective practices for conserving and restoring heritage. Particular emphasis was placed on developing the training sector, enhancing professional capacities and fostering partnerships dedicated to preserving global heritage.

The Sharjah delegation comprised Issa Yousif, Director-General of the Sharjah Archaeology Authority;  Aisha Demas, Director-General of the Sharjah Museums Authority;  Nasir Al Darmaki, Deputy Director of ICCROM in Sharjah; Dr. Saeed Abdullah bin Yaarouf Al Naqbi, Director of the Support Services Department at the Sharjah Archaeology Authority; and Amjad Al Qasir, Senior Executive of International Relations and Research at the Department of Government Relations.

ICCROM visit
Aruna Francesca Maria Gujral, ICCROM's Director-General, welcomed the Sharjah delegation at the centre’s headquarters and discussed the achievements and projects of the ICCROM-Sharjah, which enjoys generous support from His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah. 

During the visit, the delegation affirmed the commitment of the Sharjah-based Athar ICCROM Regional Centre to attaining its goals manifested in the conservation of cultural heritage in the Arab world. It was noted that the centre is actively strengthening its relations with various partners and stakeholders in the region and is benefiting from regional cooperation and community participation in an area rich with opportunities. The Sharjah delegation emphasised that the centre has been working for more than six decades to protect heritage within the borders of the member states and beyond.

Cultural heritage: A legacy of humanity
Sheikh Fahim Al Qasimi, Chairman of the DGR, emphasised that heritage preservation is vital and requires a collective global approach. He also highlighted the importance of cooperation and cultural and scientific exchange between Sharjah and ICCROM. He noted that these efforts align with Sharjah’s cultural project, initiated by His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah.

He stated, “DGR is committed to playing a pivotal role in coordinating and enhancing bilateral relations between heritage protection institutions in Sharjah and ICCROM. This is achieved by supporting the initiatives and projects implemented by ICCROM in the UAE, notably the establishment of the Athar ICCROM regional centre in Sharjah, aimed at providing support and services to institutions and local communities in preserving and restoring cultural properties in the Arab world.”

Cultural ties spanning 2,300 years
During the visit, Issa Yousif stressed the depth of the historical relations between Sharjah and Italy in the heritage and culture sectors. These relations are evidenced by the Roman archaeological finds discovered at Mleiha and Dibba Al-Hisn archaeological sites, which date back more than 2,300 years.

He said: "Our visit to ICCROM strengthens the relations between Sharjah's cultural institutions and their Italian counterparts. We look forward to developing initiatives that boost efforts to preserve heritage and support collaboration between the two sides.”

Field visits
In collaboration with the UAE embassy in Rome and ICCROM-Sharjah, several field visits were organised for the Sharjah delegation to several cultural sites in Rome, including the MAXXI - National Museum of 21st Century Arts, designed by the renowned architect Zaha Hadid, the National Roman Museum, Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Roma, and the Colosseum. 

Cooperation pathways for museums 
The Sharjah Museums Authority shared its vision, mission, and programmes, reflecting the diversity and richness of Sharjah and the UAE's cultural and historical heritage.  Aisha Demas, Director-General of the Sharjah Museums Authority, highlighted museums' pivotal role in advancing standards to ensure heritage preservation and optimal use of facilities, programmes, and exhibitions to broaden visitors' knowledge. Furthermore, She explored collaboration opportunities, including joint exhibitions, workshops, and training to foster the exchange of expertise and knowledge in specialised museum fields.

Meetings with archaeological institutions
The Sharjah delegation engaged with several Italian cultural institutions, including specialists from the Borghese Archaeological Museum and the Colosseum Museum Group, showcasing the Authority's initiatives in using AI for digitising Sharjah's cultural heritage through 3D documentation of over 1,600 artefacts and inscriptions, augmented reality for over 600 pieces, and virtual reality reconstructions of archaeological sites.

February 22, 2024 / 6:06 PM

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