On 8 November, Prince Charles of the United Kingdom, as part of an official visit to the United Arab Emirates, paid a visit to the ICCROM-ATHAR Regional Conservation Centre in Sharjah. He was accompanied on this visit by His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah.
The two dignitaries received a tour of the ICCROM-ATHAR Centre given by Dr Zaki Aslan, Regional Representative of ICCROM and Director of ICCROM-ATHAR, who presented the Centre’s activities.
The Prince of Wales, as reported in the BBC, has recently expressed concerns that “so much of mankind’s cultural heritage is being deliberately destroyed or threatened.” He was particularly interested in learning the measures the Arab region is taking to address this issue. The Prince had himself expressed the wish to visit the ICCROM-ATHAR Centre, as he wishes to bring visibility to cultural heritage conservation, risk management and heritage restoration after conflict and disaster-related events.
As part of the tour, members of the ICCROM-ATHAR Centre team demonstrated to Prince Charles methods for emergency recovery of heritage objects, and presented the methodology for first aid planning, salvage, stabilization, packing and storage.
Prince Charles was also invited to view the exhibit of conservation projects, from the ATHAR Awards on best conservation practices in the Arab world. Four projects were presented in particular: the restoration of the Amra Palace site in Jordan, the conservation of the Tyre tomb of Lebanon, the revitalization of the historic port city of Suakin in Sudan, and the restoration of the Ad Dour temple in the United Arab Emirates.
The Prince also met course participants from the ICCROM-ATHAR’s latest Regional Leadership Course on First Aid and Risk Management of Cultural Heritage in Times of Crisis, which took place in Sharjah from 4 – 31 October 2016. The participants, who came from Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Sudan, Syria, and the United Arab Emirates, shared with the Prince what they had learned on the course, and especially how they planned to implement the lessons they had learned on return to their home countries.
At the end of the visit, Prince Charles made very positive and congratulatory comments on the work of ICCROM and ICCROM-ATHAR. He noted that this experience in heritage crisis training was a particularly effective example, and a worthy source of inspiration also for the United Kingdom.
Sharjah Ruler receives Prince Charles – Gulf News
Award for conservation projects in the Arab world – ICCROM website