ICCROM Joins UNESCO in Lauding Syria Top Antiquities Official

October 6, 2017

Palmyra, Temple of Bel © DRICCROM’s Director-General Dr Stefano De Caro joined Irina Bokova, the Director-General of UNESCO in praising Dr Maamoun Abdulkarim of Syria, for his tireless efforts to safeguard the country’s cultural assets during these years of war. Dr Abdulkarim’s five-year term as Syria’s Director-General for Museums and Antiquities coincided with a devastating conflict which has left hundreds of thousands of people dead, and has greatly imperiled Syria’s rich cultural heritage.

“During his immensely difficult tenure, Dr Abdulkarim managed to do the impossible by working tirelessly to protect Syria’s World Heritage Sites and the artefacts exhibited in the country’s museums,” said De Caro. “Syria was lucky to have a man of his stature during such a challenging time, and I personally am honoured to have been able to work with him through these years,” he added. Continue reading…


Palmyra sculptures restored in Italy now returned to Syria

March 6, 2017

Palmyra busts restored in Italy now returned to SyriaTwo damaged sculptural busts from Palmyra, dating to the 2nd or 3rd century AD, were sent home from Rome to Syria on Monday 27 February. After being treated in Italy, the busts were returned to the National Museum of Damascus, accompanied by two representatives of the Syrian Directorate-General of Antiquities and Museums (DGAM).

New technologies, including laser scans and 3D printing, played a key role in the reconstruction of these sculptures.

ICCROM’s Director-General, Stefano De Caro, commented: “This restoration and partial reconstruction of ancient objects is a striking case – it made use of fills in modern materials, while ensuring these were reversible. Even if on a small scale, this is an innovative example of how to address severely damaged antiquities.”

The busts, called the “war-wounded of Palmyra” by former Rome mayor Francesco Rutelli, had been badly smashed with hammers by insurgents. Rutelli arranged for the busts’ arrival in Italy and their subsequent restoration through his association entitled Incontro di Civiltà (Encounter of Civilizations), negotiating the objects’ transfer through contacts with the Syrian DGAM and members of the opposition. The two busts were featured in a UNESCO-sponsored exhibit called “Rising from Destruction” curated by Rutelli and held at the Colosseum in Rome through 16 December 2016. Continue reading…


First Aid to Cultural Heritage in Times of Crisis

June 2, 2016

The Fifth International Course on First Aid to Cultural Heritage in Times of Crisis Starts

first_aid_1“I would like to prepare for recovery and reconstruction of Mosul’s cultural heritage,” says Layla Salih, an Iraqi participant of the Fifth International Course on First Aid to Cultural Heritage in Times of Crisis (FAC) which opened today at the Smithsonian Castle, Washington DC, USA.  Offered within the framework of ICCROM’s multi-partner programme on Disaster Risk Management, the FAC course is aimed at enhancing national, regional and local capacities for protecting cultural heritage during complex and protracted crises. Continue reading…


Supporting Syria

February 8, 2016

Syrian refugee children giving peace sign
Photo: Eoghan Rice (CC BY 2.0)

At a donor’s conference in London on 4 February, leaders from dozens of nations met to pledge funds to address the continuing refugee and humanitarian crisis in Syria.

The conference raised over US$ 10 billion in pledges. Donations were committed from the European Union, the United Kingdom, Germany, the United States, and a wide range of other donor nations, humanitarian foundations and trusts.

As an example of the support committed, His Highness the Aga Khan, in pledging US$200 million over the next four years to continuing activities in Syria, issued the following statement:   “I am deeply distressed over the indiscriminate and widespread devastation of life and property, including that of irreplaceable cultural assets which are the manifestation of Syria’s stunningly rich pluralistic history.”

The conference comes at a moment when attacks and bombardments, most particularly in the historic city of Aleppo, are displacing tens of thousands of refugees into Turkey and neighbouring areas.

See also:


ICCROM Deplores the Continued Destruction of Ancient Heritage

September 1, 2015

Temple of Bel The International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM) today expressed outrage at the reported destruction by the militant group ISIS of the 1st century Temple of Bel, one of the finest and best preserved monuments of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Palmyra.

Continue reading…


Communication and teaching skills

July 20, 2015

International Summer School on Communication and Teaching skills in Conservation and Science
13 – 24 July 2015. Rome, Italy

The second edition of the International Summer School on Communication and Teaching skills in Conservation and Science began on 15 July at the ICCROM headquarters in Rome. This two-week training session has brought together professionals from a variety of countries and backgrounds to explore the potential of different didactic approaches, approaches to learning about conservation and science, and revisiting existing practices. Learning is taking place through interactive sessions both in the classroom and around Rome. Continue reading…


First Aid to Cultural Heritage in Syria

June 22, 2015

Beirut, Lebanon, 1-10 June 2015

group photo of Syrian First AidersIn efforts to provide support to cultural heritage professionals in Syria, the ICCROM-ATHAR Regional Centre recently joined forces with UNESCO and the Arab Regional Centre for World Heritage – Bahrain (ARC-WH) to hold a course in Beirut, Lebanon, on First Aid to Built Cultural Heritage for Syrian professionals.

The aim was to establish national teams capable of undertaking emergency response interventions to secure endangered built cultural heritage, and train other colleagues in the country.

Twenty-three professionals working in Aleppo, Damascus, Daraa, Idleb, Deir Al-Zor and Homs participated in this intensive course. Participants discussed several aspects relevant to emergency response to endangered heritage: risk assessment, damage assessment, first aid to cultural heritage, rapid documentation, community engagement and emergency consolidation of damaged monuments and sites.

Continue reading…


First Aid to Cultural Heritage in Times of Crisis

March 27, 2015

30 March – 24 April 2015, Netherlands

First Aid to Cultural Heritage in Times of Crisis

Is it possible to save cultural heritage from the intentional targeting that we are witnessing in Syria and Iraq? In the aftermath of large-scale natural disasters such as Cyclone Pam, how can cultural heritage be recovered quickly and effectively?

Over the next four weeks, 21 professionals from risk-prone areas such as Gaza, Guatemala, Haiti, Philippines, Syria and Ukraine will convene in Amsterdam to participate in the international course on First Aid to Cultural Heritage in Times of Crisis, jointly organized by ICCROM, the Smithsonian Institution, the Netherlands National Commission of UNESCO, and 11 national institutions including the Netherlands Ministries of Culture and Education.

This is the fourth international course on First Aid, organized within the framework of ICCROM’s multi-partner programme on disaster risk management.

First Aid to Cultural Heritage in Times of Crisis aims to equip proactive cultural “first aiders” with the necessary skills and knowledge to work with communities and other mainstream emergency actors to protect cultural heritage amidst an unfolding crisis situation.

“Culture cannot wait, the credo of the First Aid training stems from the idea that for communities uprooted by disasters, culture in its both tangible and intangible forms, provides a thread of continuity and helps in overcoming the trauma of loss and displacement, therefore, it cannot be separated from humanitarian assistance”, says Aparna Tandon, the course leader and ICCROM Project Specialist. Continue reading…


Rescuing Endangered Cultural Heritage in the Arab Region

October 9, 2014

Planning meeting takes place with international and regional organizations

group photo of meeting in Cairo for First Aid planningOn 29 and 30 September, ICCROM-ATHAR, UNESCO and the Arab League Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization (ALECSO) held a meeting in Cairo to form national and regional teams for the safeguarding of endangered cultural heritage in the region. This meeting gathered representatives from Egypt, Iraq, Yemen, Sudan and Syria, who reported on risks to heritage in their countries, in addition to the local and national initiatives taken in this context.

The meeting discussed possible solutions for the ongoing crises, and decisions were made to implement regional courses to build capacity in risk management and the protection of cultural heritage in times of emergency. Continue reading…