Heritage protection starts in times of peace. The 1954 Hague Convention and its two protocols provide guidelines to adopt measures to be implemented before, during and after conflict. Therefore, synergies between World Heritage and other relevant conventions and instruments, e.g. the 1970 Convention against Illicit Trafficking and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, must be reinforced. In peace time, a sound civil and military cooperation shall guarantee effective protection mechanisms to be used amid crisis. In recent conflicts, conventions provided very limited heritage protection. Preventive measures, risk preparedness and awareness raising, as well as share of good practices for people-centred response, recovery and reconstruction are particularly relevant in this juncture. Initiatives for cultural heritage protection in extreme situations, including conflicts and terrorist attacks, should be intensified also making widespread use of new technologies. This is why we call for a direct involvement of NGOs and civil society at large.
Giovanni Fontana Antonelli, CoordinatorArchi.Media Trust
Giovanni Fontana Antonelli, graduated from Florence University, he is a world experienced architect, urban/landscape planner and heritage expert who gained his extensive experience from serving UNESCO for more than 20 years in Africa, Europe and the Arab Region, especially in conflict and post-conflict contexts, i.e. the safeguarding of the terraced cultural landscape of Southern Jerusalem, and the recovery and reconstruction of the Old City of Mosul. In 2019, Arch. Fontana Antonelli was Senior Consultant in urban heritage for UN-Habitat Syria, and in 2020 participated in the ALIPH-funded mission to Hatra World Heritage site in Danger in Iraq. In 2017, he founded Archi.Media Trust, an agency specialized in cultural heritage safeguarding, especially in conflict-affected contexts. Archi.Media Trust is currently engaged in the restoration of an historic mosque in the old city of Mosul, funded by ALIPH. Keynote speakers in numerous international conferences and author of three books and circa 70 publications on heritage and development studies, Arch. Fontana Antonelli’s projects were recipient of international awards, such as the Gubbio Prize 1996, the Sheikh Zayed Prize 2005, the Melina Mercouri Prize for Cultural Landscapes 2011, and were nominated to the Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 2013 and 2016.
Claudio Cimino, Co-ConvenerWATCH
Claudio CIMINO, MA and post-graduate in Architecture at La Sapienza, since 1984 is member at the Board of Architects of Rome, in 2005 co-founded an architects' firm. After a decade spent doing research in Latin America and coordinating development projects in the Middle East with the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, designed, managed and monitored projects in over 40 countries in Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America focusing on urban/regional planning; cultural heritage restoration and conservation; Arts&Crafts and industrial design. During the last 15 years was increasingly engaged in the study and development of progressive risk preparedness, mitigation and response measures to protect cultural heritage as key to good territorial governance,I n line with the UNESCO 1954 Hague Convention and the relevant international law. Coordinated the draft nomination dossier for Mtskheta World Heritage (Georgia) to Enhanced Protection within a EU supported initiative promoted by WATCH in cooperation with Georgian and Lebanese authorities. Consults on cultural heritage management the Italian MoFA, the Foreign Trade Commission and the MiBACT; the World Bank and the EC. A senior scholar, lectures on cultural heritage management in several Italian and European Universities. Is a member of the supervising committee and a lecturer within the EU H2020 ED ARCHMAT MSCA-ITN-EJD.
Mizuko Ugo, Co-ConvenerGakushuin Women’s College (Japan)
Mizuko Ugo is associate professor of cultural heritage conservation and international cultural cooperation at the Faculty of Intercultural Studies, Gakushuin Women’s College (Tokyo, Japan). After having obtained her Ph.D. in Engineering (History of Architecture) from the University of Tokyo, she worked in restoration sites of historical buildings and joined UNESCO as an Associate Expert, initially in Cairo Office and afterwards at the World Heritage Centre in Paris Hqs, contributing to the conservation of built heritage and the implementation of the World Heritage Convention in the Arab Countries. She has also worked in the field of restoration and re-use of ancient buildings as a researcher of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) at the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo (NRICP-T). Her research interest is the conservation of built heritage in the 20th century and, in particular, in relation to the Second Wolrd War. She is member of the Japan ICOMOS National Committee and of the Architectural Institute of Japan.
Nida Ahmad, Team MemberMaster Storyteller, Brand Whisper, Experience Translator of multiple industries
Nida Ahmad has more than 15 years of experience working as a communication specialist, editor, and head of content for the main broadcast television companies and Institutions in Spain, the Middle East and in the United Kingdom. Part of her professional career has always been linked to social, cultural and solidarity issues, some related to the Arab world, always providing a feminine vision, allowing her to work and collaborate for organizations such as UNRWA, International Plan, UNICEF, the Qatar Embassy of Madrid.
Hiba Alkhalaf, Team MemberKing’s College London (UK)
Hiba is a Research Associate at King’s College London- Department of Classics. She is an architect with academic and professional experience in architectural conservation and heritage management. She holds a B.Arch. from the University of Damascus, MSc in Architectural conservation, and PhD in Architecture from the University of Edinburgh. Hiba has been actively involved in various heritage projects in the MENA region focusing on documenting and managing heritage, assessing damage and values, as well as exploring the role of heritage in peacebuilding and reconciliation and empowering local communities. Her research had led to developing several capacity building training programs and worked closely with heritage professionals in Syria, Tunisia, Libya, and the UK.
Vanessa Fraga Prol, Team MemberPrince Claus Fund
She holds a Master's degree in World Heritage and Management of Cultural Projects for Development from the Politecnico and University of Turin, Italy. Previously, she graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Public Relations from the Complutense University of Madrid, Spain. Being a certified project manager, she has extensive experience in the United Nations System. In the last fifteen years, she has contributed to different projects for International Cooperation and Assistance and Contingency Planning at the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in the Hague, the Netherlands. These capacity building projects aimed to implement the Convention of Chemical Weapons at national level, use chemistry for peaceful purposes and ensure readiness to be protected from toxic chemicals. The OPCW is a successful disarmament body that in 2013 was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of its efforts to eliminate a category of weapons of mass destruction. Aiming to apply her past experience and recent studies to the Cultural Heritage Sector; in April, she will join the Prince Claus Fund as a Manager of the Cultural Emergency Response Programme. This programme provides immediate assistance to evacuate, stabilise and rescue cultural heritage under threat of destruction or damaged due to conflict or disasters.
Mehiyar Kathem, Team MemberUniversity College London (UK)
Dr Mehiyar Kathem is a researcher at University College London (UCL). Mehiyar completed a PhD at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) where he researched peacebuilding interventions and the formation of Iraq’s domestic NGO sector after the 2003 War. During this research, he looked at the gradual evolution of Iraq from totalitarian dictatorship through the country’s emerging domestic organisations. His research interests include statebuilding, civil society peacebuilding and the ways in which development, politics and money interact at a local level. Mehiyar conducted field research in Iraq for his PhD programme, spending a year meeting with and interviewing domestic NGO actors, political parties, government officials and international donors. Previously, Mehiyar worked on a number of grassroots programmes geared to build the capacity of civil society organisations and continues to advise international donors on the effective design and delivery of projects in Iraq. His current research explores issues of heritage, culture and statebuilding in Iraq. Dr Kathem currently works as a Research Associate and Coordinator for the University College London based Nahrein Network.
Olimpia Niglio, Team MemberHokkaido University (Japan)
Olimpia Niglio is a professor in Comparative History of Architecture and Cultural Landscape and appointed at Hokkaido University, Graduate School of Humanities and Human Sciences, Japan. She studied at the University of Naples “Federico II” where she also obtained the Ph.D, Executive Master at Business School Sole24ore in Rome, and Post Ph.D (Miur) in Conservation of Architectural Heritage. Since 2013, she has been Research Fellow at Kyoto University Graduate School of Human and Environmental Studies (with Prof. Atsushi Okada), and Professor at Universidad de Bogotá Jorge Tadeo Lozano, Colombia, Facultad de Artes y Diseño (with Alberto Saldarriaga). From 2006 to 2012 has been a professor at the University of Ibagué, International School, and today she continues to collaborate at the international academic group in research projects in collaboration with the local communities about the restoration of the monuments in conflict areas. She is the director of “EdA Esempi di Architettura International Research Center” and the coordinator of two international research projects: “Italian Diaspora in the world” and “Cultural Diplomacy and Heritage” (this last with prof. Eric Yong Joong Lee). In 2020 she has won a fellowship at Korea Foundation (South of Korea, Seoul), where she continues the collaboration. She is vice president ICOMOS International Scientific Committee PRERICO and vice president ACLA, Asian Cultural Landscape Association (SNU, Seoul). She is the author of many publications in different languages and focused on the cultural heritage between Orient and Occident.
Ann Pache, Team MemberHuman Rights Expert
Ann Pache, a Master's degree in Human Rights, is a social worker specialized in the Middle East and the Palestinian conflict. She lived in Palestine knowing firsthand the situation and its needs. Her experience is related to the fields of immigration, refugee, and asylum policies. She has a strong vocation for the international field and human rights, aspiring to work for an international organization focusing on humanitarian assistance, peacebuilding, promotion and defense of human rights, and International Humanitarian Law.
Kristen Barrett-Casey, Team MemberResearcher, University College London
Kristen Barrett-Casey studied History (BA) at Oxford and Sustainable Heritage (MSc) at University College London. She is a researcher who focuses on post-conflict heritage management in the MENA region, and the role of politics in the process of heritage-making. Most recently she has written on reconstructions and their role in post-conflict reconciliation. Her latest chapter, ‘Is World Heritage Politically Sustainable?’ will be appearing in the Routledge Handbook for Sustainable Heritage in 2022.
Anne Besançon, Team MemberCultural Property Protection Expert
Anne holds a Master’s degree in Cultural Heritage Management from the Panthéon-Sorbonne University with a background in Ancient History and Classics from Exeter University. After an experience in a Parisian urban agency on post-crisis urban reconstruction of historical centres, notably on Beirut, she has specialised in Cultural Property Protection. Her research has led her to approach the central role heritage plays for the reconstruction and recovery of war-torn cities and populations, as well as the threats impending on it. She is currently working with the French Land Forces toward implementing Cultural Property Protection within military operations to mitigate the consequences of conflicts on cultural heritage.