Dubrovnik Global Heritage Forum: Reclaiming Cultural Property

From H-Museum:

Dubrovnik Global Heritage Forum
28. September 2007

Key Topic: Reclaiming Cultural Property

Hosted by ICOM Europe THE BEST IN HERITAGE, Dubrovnik, 27-29 September 2007

Dubrovnik, Croatia, is a world heritage site and is the venue for the annual conference "The Best in Heritage", taking place this year from September 27 - 29, 2007. In the framework of this conference, the "Dubrovnik Global Heritage Forum" will be - for the first time - a summit of the world's leading Heritage Organizations. The event is hosted by ICOM-Europe on September 28, 2007. Key topic of the following panel discussion will be "Reclaiming Cultural Property". For information and registration please contact: www.thebestinheritage.com

1. The Initiative
Issues concerning cultural heritage and the preservation of cultural
property are slowly gaining more attention and recognition throughout the
world. There is, though, a serious lack of knowledge and understanding about
the important role, that international heritage organizations play in this
field. Unfortunately the activities of these organizations are seldomly
coordinated, due to an unsufficient transfer of information and little
mutual consultation. Therefore the European Heritage Organisation, based in
Zagreb, Croatia, proposes an annual meeting of high representatives of
heritage organizations to take place as the Global Heritage Forum in
Dubrovnik, Croatia. Such a meeting would be unique in the world and enable
participants to discuss all matters concerning global strategies for the
preservation, care and communication of cultural heritage.

2. The Event
As an ideal setting for the Dubrovnik Global Heritage Forum, the European
Heritage Association suggests to integrate it into its annual conference
"The Best in Heritage" (27. – 29. September 2007) that has been taking place
in Dubrovnik for five years now. (see: www.thebestinheritage.com ) The
conference has become a remarkable event of inspiration and encounter, each
time gathering about 20 museum, heritage or conservation projects from all
over the world, that have received, in the preceding year, national or
international prize for their outstanding achievements. The presentations of
these projects are attracting more and more visitors each year (135 in 2006,
from 25 countries). A documentation of "The Best in Heritage" is being
provided in conference publication, on its website and an excellent
interactive DVD with 20 hours of programme. The web site has become a unique
searchengine for the best practices and quality in heritage domain.

The Dubrovnik Global Heritage Forum will take place on the second day of the
conference "The Best in Heritage" and consists of two major events: 1. A
consultative meeting of high representatives of the world's heritage
organizations, 2. A forum discussion with representatives of the heritage
organizations and experts focussing on a key issue.

3. The key issue
The key issue of the 2007 Dubrovnik Global Forum will be "Reclaiming
Cultural Property".
With the ratification of the UNESCO Convention for the Protection of
Cultural Diversity in more and more countries throughout the world the
awareness for the preservation of sites of cultural heritage and collections
has increased. When it comes to questions of restitution, though, the debate
often turns very emotional, lacks professional insight and ethical
standards. ICOM's focus on mediation and the enhancement of dialogue with
museums in countries or areas, that have lost a significant part of their
heritage, is promising. The return of the Aksum obelisk to Ethiopia by the
Italian government was a symbol of hope. Having in mind the looting of the
National Museum in Baghdad or the Museum of Macedonia in Skopje we should
realize, though, that this is happening today, not in colonial times.
Therefore the theme "Reclaiming Cultural Property2 will gather
representatives of heritage organizations and experts to discuss in which
way illicit traffic of cultural property can be prevented and how a new
understanding of universal cultural heritage may reshape the approach to
questions ofexclusive ownership.

4. The partners
The European Heritage Association has acclaimed patronage and support for
"The Best in Heritage" event by ICOM, UNESCO (Venice office), Europa Nostra,
ICOMOS, ICCROM and the City of Dubrovnik, a world heritage site. With the
Dubrovnik Global Heritage Forum it wishes to extend its partnerships in
order to make it a regular summit of international importance. ICOM supports
this innitiative, whereas ICOM-Europe has agreed to be the host of this
event. Therefore the European Heritage Association and ICOM-Europe jointly
offer heritage organisations worldwide a platform, on which they can discuss
and raise issues ofglobal concern. And as you know: Heritage counts.

Prof. Tomislav Sola
European Heritage Association


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