Biladi

Biladi is an independent Lebanese non-governmental organization (NGO) specialized in heritage preservation. Created in 2005, Biladi has long-term established partnerships with national and international entities.

Biladi strongly believes that heritage is a basic human right; thus, everybody should be able to know it, live it and love it. Raising awareness about the importance of tangible and intangible cultural heritage and contributing to safeguarding it are crucial for developing and fostering a sense of identity and belonging.

Biladi is active in two main areas: Safeguarding and Education.

 

Objectives and Goals

 

We believe that heritage is an essential component of cultural identity and plays an important role in promoting social cohesion.

In a region going through profound crisis and changes, safeguarding heritage constitutes a vital tool to foster peoples’ attachment to their cultural identity and provides them a sense of stability. This fact was witnessed by Biladi’s founder and manager, Joanne Farchakh Bajjaly, archaeologist and journalist, who worked for many years on heritage in Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq.

When working as a journalist covering the war in Iraq, Joanne Farchakh Bajjaly witnessed a systematic process of looting, destructing as well as damaging museums and archeological sites, which resulted in shifting priorities: basic needs were put back in the foreground while the standing of heritage was diminished. Back in Lebanon, she realized that defending heritage had to be an integral part of the educational system to ensure that young generations in conflict and post-conflict countries are aware of the importance of their history and capable of reintegrating heritage in their daily life.

At this point, Biladi was created. The objective was (and still is) to narrow the huge gap in the perception of heritage between today’s and previous generations. Starting with on-site tours and workshops at historical, archaeological, and natural sites for the youth, Biladi was fully dedicated to heritage education. Since the beginning, a special educational material was created and is constantly updated. As for the activities and sub activities, they were (and still are) carefully conceived to transmit information about tangible and intangible cultural heritage in a creative and innovative ways.  

Over the years, it became clear that heritage professionals working within heritage institutions play a tremendous role in safeguarding and maintaining heritage. Unfortunately, they don’t always have the capacity to implement the measures they propose.

Raising awareness about the importance of tangible and intangible cultural heritage and safeguarding it have therefore become BILADI’s mission.