Cultural heritage throughout the Middle East is being destroyed at an alarming rate. A major cause of destruction, and certainly the most preventable cause, is the looting of archaeological sites and museums for cultural objects that can be trafficked and sold in the market countries of Europe, North America, and other parts of Asia. Unlike neighboring Egypt, where they have a large team of well equipped employees at the Ministry of Antiquity, working on repatriating their stolen artifacts, both Lebanon and Syria are still struggling to save their heritage.
Biladi has taken it upon itself to make a change. The funding from the Norwegian Embassy lead to accomplishing an 80 hours training program for participants from both Lebanese & Syrian nationalities, from different professional, educational & geographical backgrounds, as a first step to help our communities fight the illicit trade of cultural property.
The training program resulted in accomplishing an intensive 10 days training program in a variety of fields covering two main parts: The law and the Police. Lecturers shared with the participants their expertise in different fields. Each lecture was followed by a 30 minute session for discussions, encouraging all members to participate. Group works were assigned daily to encourage teamwork respect for the individual capacity of each participant. The overall objective was to help both nations by encouraging individuals to help their communities and local authorities protect their heritage.
The 23 participants, carefully hand-picked, were divided as follows: 9 Lebanese Archaeologists, 10 Syrians Archaeologists and 4 Lebanese Lawyers.
At the end of the project, a final ceremony was organized at the “Palais de l’UNESCO” on the 22nd of February 2017. During the ceremony, participants were given certificates for achieving the 80 hours training course handed over by the ambassador of Norway. The director of the blue shields, the DGA director and the instructors were also present. These ceremonies are aimed at closing the project in a joyful way, giving the participants a sense of pride by their achievements.
A second part of the project will be implemented in 2018.