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Protecting Cultural Heritage from International Violence
14-11-2016 at 20:00 - 21:30
Everybody remembers the images of the Syrian city of Palmyra after ISIS had been defeated. What the world saw for the first time in many years differed strongly from what we knew, and the damage done to iconic buildings of great cultural importance was severe. But violence is not the only threat to what is described by UNESCO as ‘irreplaceable sources of life and inspiration’. Examples of threatened nature and the preservation of monumental buildings are caused by pollution and political struggles. And even though UNESCO claims that this heritage belongs to all the people, state ownership often increases the complexity of the situation.
With us tonight are drs. Marielies Schelhaas, Secretary General of the Netherlands National Commission for UNESCO, and maj. (R) drs. Edwin Maes, Cultural Heritage Specialist at the Dutch Ministry of Defense. Schelhaas is the head of the committee, and her daily tasks strongly correlate with its missions statements. Therefore, she is responsible for promoting the knowledge of cultural heritage and ensuring its preservation. As lecturer at the Ministry, Maes is responsible for the Cultural Awareness instruction in the pre-deployment training stage. Furthermore, he operates as liason officer as part of the support group for National Operations.
Both will give different insights in the importance of cultural heritage, how it plays a role in mission planning at the Defense organization and the way it affects different societies. Afterwards there will be time for a Q&A with both of our guests.