International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property
Middle East and North Africa (MENA)

Middle East and North Africa (MENA)

Petra - Jordan

It is a challenging time for cultural heritage in parts of the Middle East and North Africa that have seen large-scale devastation, including the desecration and destruction of temples, shrines, cities and monuments.

Now more than ever, ICCROM’s work on cultural heritage protection and preservation in conflict areas is needed. Since it opened its doors in 2012, ICCROM’s Regional Office in Sharjah (ICCROM-ATHAR Centre), United Arab Emirates, has proven vital to fulfilling the organization’s mandate in the Arab Region by being closer to stakeholders and by leveraging regional collaboration mechanisms and community engagement in a region of many risks but also considerable opportunities. The branch office in the UAE has become an important force for cultural heritage advocacy, providing substantive logistical and operational support to ICCROM’s work in the region.

In partnership with Arab Member States, ICCROM-ATHAR aspires to protect the cultural heritage of the Arab region and to broaden access, appreciation and understanding of its history. The Centre focuses on architectural and archaeological tangible heritage, including heritage collections and historic places, sites and monuments. It primarily aims to enhance the capacity of official heritage institutions to manage heritage sites and museum collections on a sustainable basis. It does this through an array of regional educational and field activities, capacity building and training, consultation, information dissemination, symposia, workshops and seminars.

ICCROM-ATHAR’s mission is generously supported by His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, as well as Member States and other partners.


Latest News

Ending civil-strife and sustaining peace is a global priority, as articulated in the UN Sustainable Development Agenda 2030, through its Goal 16. History, however, points to a different reality: nearly half of all peace agreements signed since the second half of the 20th century have resulted in conflict relapse.

On 12 January 2021, Dr Gihane Zaki, ICCROM Council Member and Professor of Egyptology who is currently Researcher at the French National Center CNRS-Sorbonne University, was appointed by the President of the Arab Republic of Egypt from within the list of 28 selected personalities to join the newly-elected deputies of Parliament.

ICCROM, through its Regional Office in Sharjah, has launched a new initiative titled “MEDINA”. It will address the protection of historic cities, support the enhancement of urban heritage management in the Arab region, and promote the role of cultural heritage in sustainable development.

Over the last ten years, the conservation of mosaic heritage has been the focus of the MOSAIKON initiative led by four international organizations: ICCROM, the Getty Foundation, the Getty Conservation Institute and the International Committee for the Conservation of Mosaics (ICCM). Focused on professional and technical training, research, conferences, publications and networking, MOSAIKON has resulted in a strengthening of capacities and professional networks of practitioners in the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean.

The International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM), through its Regional Office in Sharjah, UAE (ICCROM-Sharjah) joins efforts with the INTERPOL (the International Criminal Police Organization), in organizing an international training course on ‘First Aid to Cultural Heritage for Preventing Illicit Trafficking in times of Crisis’, with financial support from the Government of Sharjah and the Swiss Federal Office of Culture, in ICCROM-Sharjah Premises in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, from 8th to 19th December 2019.

Under the patronage and presence of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, the ICCROM-Sharjah Regional Office for the Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Heritage organized a symposium from 23-26 September on conserving Sudanese heritage titled, “Active Exhibitions for Active Museums”.

A new Master’s Programme in Cultural Heritage Preservation and Management will be offered at the University of Sharjah following an agreement signed between ICCROM and the University. The programme will target heritage professionals from a diversity of backgrounds in the Arab region, and will consist of two tracks: Management of Museums (movable heritage) and Management of Cultural Heritage Sites (immovable heritage).

From 10 February to 21 February 2019, ICCROM-Sharjah and its project partners conducted two workshops on Education and Museum Management in Khartoum for the National Corporation for Antiquities and Museums (NCAM) in Sudan, funded by the British Council’s Cultural Protection Fund in partnership with the Department for Digital, Culture Media and Sport.

Mosaics heritage is increasingly threatened by modern construction, looting and lack of qualified personnel to carry out much needed conservation and maintenance work. To address this need, a five-week international training course for the conservation of in-situ mosaics was held from 26 March to 26 April 2019, at the ancient site of Byblos, Lebanon. The training event, which included six DGA Lebanon employees and six government employees from Libya, Jordan and Palestine, was developed to enhance the capacity of national authorities responsible for archaeological sites in the Middle East and North Africa to conserve their mosaic heritage. The event was carried out jointly by ICCROM, the Directorate General of Antiquities of Lebanon (DGA), and the Getty Conservation Institute (GCI).

As part of the “Community Museums of Western Sudan” conservation and rehabilitation project for museums in Omdurman, El Obeid and Nyala, ICCROM has conducted a series of workshops entitled “Enhancing the Social and Cultural Role of Community Museums.” The project “Community Museums of Western Sudan” is funded by the British Council's Cultural Protection Fund, in partnership with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, United Kingdom. Project partners include the National Corporation for Antiquities and Museums in Sudan (NCAM), the Centre for Heritage Studies, McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, University of Cambridge, and Mallinson Architects.