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12.09.2018 Know-how for the preservation of Syrian cultural heritage: The successful completion of the project "Stewards of Cultural Heritage"

The closing event of the Stewards of Cultural Heritage program on September 7, 2018 in the German Consulate General- Istanbul

Within the framework of the Zero Hour - A Future for the Time after the Crisis Project, funded by the Archaeological Heritage Network (ArcHerNet), the Stewards of Cultural Heritage (SoCH) program has been conducted at the Istanbul Department of the German Archaeological Institute. The project has been funded by the Federal Foreign Office and was generously supported by the Gerda Henkel Foundation.  SoCH started in October 2016 and is coming to an end this month.

Within the framework of the Zero Hour - A Future for the Time after the Crisis Project, funded by the Archaeological Heritage Network (ArcHerNet), the Stewards of Cultural Heritage (SoCH) program has been conducted at the Istanbul Department of the German Archaeological Institute. The project has been funded by the Federal Foreign Office and was generously supported by the Gerda Henkel Foundation.  SoCH started in October 2016 and is coming to an end this month.
The ArcHerNet was officially founded as an expertise network in 2016 during the time of the then Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier. As the first of its kind, this network bundles German competencies in the fields of cultural heritage preservation and cultural property protection abroad. As the first formative project by the ArcHerNet, the "Zero Hour - a future for the time after the crisis" project has been carried out since 2016. This project includes measures following an integrative approach, in which training, capacity building, awareness raising, information provision and vocational training, are key building blocks.

Project presentation

The Stewards of Cultural Heritage program under the Zero Hour project is mainly a two-years scholarship for five Syrian archaeologists, architects and conservators, who had fled to Turkey. The goal was the further education of the scholarship holders, as well as creating the opportunity for them to carry out their own projects, which could contribute to the preservation and reconstruction of Syrian cultural heritage in the future. Behind this project was the belief that the Syrian experts are the most competent and committed "Stewards of Cultural Heritage".  In other words, they are the preservers of their country's cultural heritage and should be supported accordingly. In addition to their studies and qualification at universities in Istanbul and Isparta, the scholarship holders have been offered numerous workshops with international experts. The stewards were actively involved in the conceptualization and the implementation of these workshops. The highlight of the project was a summer field project for several weeks in Gaziantep in 2017. During the field work, the scholarship holders were able to carry out their own conservation project together with Turkish and German workers, craftsmen and specialists at the archaeological site of Doliche (Ministry of Culture and Tourism in Turkey - University of Münster). The Stewards of Cultural Heritage program has been coordinated at DAI Istanbul by the Aleppo-born architect and conservator Diana Miznazi.

The scholarship holders presented themselves and their projects at the closing event on September 7, 2018, which was organized in cooperation with the German Consulate General Istanbul. The individual projects varied in topic from the creation of an interactive map with sites in the Syrian steppe, which could be identified by interviewing more than 100 residents of this region who have fled to Turkey, to a children's book that is also intended to convey Syrian cultural heritage to Syrians in exile. In the discussion following the presentations, experts with backgrounds in archeology, architecture and historic monuments preservation as well as representatives of NGOs, together with the fellows, have developed initial perspectives for the further development of projects such as "Stewards of Cultural Heritage". Such projects are in high demand today more than ever.

The Archaeological Heritage Network

Attending the event were, among others, the German Consul General in Istanbul, Mr. Michael Reiffenstuel, and the Deputy Director of the Directorate General of Antiquities and Museums, Mr. Ali Rıza Altunel, as the representative of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of Turkey.

The program is part of the Zero Hour- A future for the time after the crisis Project by the Archaeological Heritage Network. Further information can be found in the link below: https://www.archernet.org/2017/03/18/stewards-of-cultural-heritage/

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