SESSION 2 – Heritage in the forgotten conflicts: Stories of protection and stories of neglect!

Organizer: Claudio Cimino


There are conflicts that reach an end when the Parties in conflict reach an agreement by the end of peace negotiations. Other conflicts instead reach a point of stand-by due to a variety of circumstances that impose to halt hostilities with a truce, often leaving the reasons for the conflict unresolved during decades.

The truce is sometimes artificially maintained thanks to the deployment of interposition forces (often mistakenly confused with peace-keeping missions). Whatever the case, there are currently several unresolved conflicts that ended out from the radars of the public opinion.

There is a relatively too little press coverage of these anomalous situations that after a while get forgotten. There are however several queries that must be properly addressed taking into account each situation as a separate original case. For example, what is the concrete state of cultural and natural heritage protection in areas interested by forgotten conflict situations? What are the good and bad practices available for a better understanding of the main threats to cultural and natural heritage in such unstable scenarios?

Participants’ from various regions of the world will contribute to this webinar presenting their experience on the state of cultural and natural heritage in areas of forgotten conflicts.

Invited Speakers:

Mounir Bouchenaki  (Algeria)
Mounir Bouchenaki is an Archaeologist, former UNESCO ADG for Culture, a former ICCROM Director General , he also served  as Director of the establishing Arab Regional Centre for World Heritage in Manama and he was assigned as honorary Special Advisor for Culture to the UNESCO Director General and to the Director General of ICCROM.

Kidane AYALEW (Ethiopia)
MA in heritage management and history of technique at university of Sorbonne Paris 1. Working Lalibela, world heritage site as a heritage for development expert, working on archaeology excavation as partner of ‘mission Lalibela’, head of the cultural department in Lalibela and the director of cultural center. Currently leading “sustainable Lalibela” which is funded by the French Foreign Affairs.  

Nino Chanishvili (Georgia)
BA in Art History and MA in Heritage Studies, Nino is a Georgian Art Historian and Cultural Heritage expert. She developed a broad diversified experience in cultural heritage management with a commitment ranging from the rehabilitation and conservation of the core historic cities, to Cultural Heritage protection. She was the curator of the Archaeological Museum of the World Heritage Listed sites of Mtkkheta. From 2010 through 2015 she was the local project coordinator for the formulation and submission of the dossier for the nomination of the World Heritage Monuments of Mtskheta to the status of Enhanced Protection as stipulated within the 1999 Second Protocol to the UNESCO Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflicts. Today Mtskheta is one of the few Heritage sites in the world enjoying that status. In 2014-2017 she served as an adviser on culture at the Prime Minister’s office of Georgia. Nino currently works as a consultant in the fields of heritage and media.

Heriberto Erquicia (El Salvador)
Archaeologist and historian. Teacher in undergraduate and graduate programs in Central America and Spain. Researcher attached to the College of America, of the Center for Advanced Studies on Latin America and the Caribbean of the UPO. Member of the Network of Afro-Central American Studies REAC and of the Mexican Network of Studies on Heritage Landscapes RMEPP. Full Member of the Salvadoran Academy of History, and corresponding member of the Royal Academy of History of Spain and the Academy of Geography and History of Guatemala; and member of the Archeology Association of El Salvador. He was director of the National Museum of Anthropology of El Salvador, from 2014 to early 2021. Currently director of Postgraduate and Extension courses at the Pedagogical University of El Salvador.

Isber Sabrine (Syria)
Isber is a PhD in Heritage and conflict studies is a Syrian archaeologist, specializing in cultural heritage management, as well as a certified National Tourist Guide in Syria. He has been a member of the Syrian Spanish team of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) since 2005. Since 2011, Isber has been a researcher at the Institución Milá y Fontanals of the Spanish National Research Council and has been involved in projects and studies on the protection of cultural heritage during conflicts.
He is currently chair and co-founder of the international NGO Heritage for Peace. Since 2015, he has been involved in cultural initiatives for refugees and immigrants in Europe. He is leading the Abuab Initiative, which is a social project that works on using cultural heritage as a tool for intercultural dialogue with refugees and immigrants from the Middle East and North Africa.

Photo credit: WATCH
Photo credit: Claudio Cimino