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October 2010 A New Vision for the Syrian National Museums and Cultural Heritage Sites.

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Presentation on theme: "October 2010 A New Vision for the Syrian National Museums and Cultural Heritage Sites."— Presentation transcript:

1 October 2010 A New Vision for the Syrian National Museums and Cultural Heritage Sites

2 2 Introduction Under the leadership of the Syrian Presidency and with the support of Her excellency, The First Lady we have embarked on a bold new vision for Syria’s museums and cultural heritage sites. The vision aims to elevate the role museums and sites play in Syria’s history, culture, economy, and society At the heart of the vision is the desire to share the richness of Syria’s history and heritage with every level of Syrian society and the world. It is a story of diversity, creativity and interaction and one that has shaped human cultures for millennia With this initiative, we have the unique opportunity to transform how Syria’s cultural heritage is presented and experienced and to accelerate Syria’s social and economic development. Consequently, this transformation is aligned with other major national initiatives supporting Syria’s development. This vision has not only inspired national participation, it has captured the imaginations and interest of the international community as well. Partnerships with renowned culture and heritage institutions around the world have been developed to provide valuable technical expertise to complement our efforts Through these efforts, we will have a significant impact on the development of culture and heritage in Syria, which will enrich and uplift the lives of generations to come

3 3 Purpose of the Transformation In 2009, Her Excellency developed the idea to transform Syria’s museums and cultural sites to address a number of challenges in the current cultural heritage landscape –The story of Syria, one so intrinsic to the development of humanity, is unfamiliar to many Syrians and largely unknown to the rest of the world –Elements of this heritage, in particular archeological and historical sites, are under-utilized and could contribute much more to the country’s economic and social development –Syria’s heritage, both tangible and intangible, is in need of urgent conservation In light of this, a bold new vision for Syria’s cultural heritage has been crafted to: -Tell Syria’s story as one of immense diversity, creativity, foundational human achievements, and unique values, which have impacted cultures and civilisations throughout history -Preserve Syrian culture and catalyse the modern cultural sector by protecting Syria’s artefacts, museums, cultural sites, and intangible heritage, and by stimulating new creativity -Create stronger linkages to other world cultures by actively participating in a global community of cultural institutions. The vision will bring Syria to the world and the world to Syria -Drive sustainable economic and social development by strengthening the cultural heritage, tourism, education, and infrastructure sectors. Growth in these sectors will create job opportunities, enhance economic competitiveness, stimulate business growth, and support balanced regional development

4 4 Overview of the Network Over the past year, our experts have been working with a team from the Louvre to craft this new world class cultural heritage network To realize the vision’s goals, we have worked with the Louvre to develop an innovative network of museums, sites, and supporting institutions. The full development of this network will take ten to 15 years.

5 5 Individual Network Elements A National Museum in Damascus will share the richness and fullness of Syria’s history with every level of Syrian society and the world, and inspire visitors to engage the rest of the network. The museum will be a place for cultural expression, performance and educational activities Regional Museums will each reflect the distinctive culture or region in which it is located and showcase specific themes and art forms Cultural Heritage Sites, footprints of the numerous civilizations that have flourished in Syria, will illustrate how the land served as a crossroads of cultures throughout history Centres of Excellence will have the twin focus of reviving and preserving traditional craftsmanship and arts, as well as generating employment opportunities. Community participation and empowerment is priority goal of these centres Knowledge Nomads will be mobile units that share pieces from Syria’s collection with local communities by transporting artefacts from one part of Syria to the next. The Nomads will also engage these local communities in educational and cultural activities The Syrian Museums and Antiquities Agency will play a key role in setting policies and goals, while offering new opportunities for collaboration throughout the network A Virtual Museum will function as an online portal for all to discover Syria’s treasures, engage with new ideas and plan visits The Institute for History and Culture will offer programs to train the network’s human resources and expand the knowledge of Syria’s cultural history

6 6 Role in Economic and Social Development The network will become a key driver within Syria’s broader national economic and social development priorities Investments in the cultural heritage sector have generated economic benefits in many contexts and countries around the world, including positive impacts on poverty reduction, national employment levels, revenue from cultural industries, and on foreign exchange earnings –By building on their natural links to education, tourism, and construction, the Syrian National Museums and Heritage Sites will have this impact on the communities and nation Reinforcing a common Syrian identity and pride in Syria’s cultural heritage will help build social capital among all Syrians at both the regional and national levels Single museums around the world such as the Guggenheim in Bilbao Spain and The Louvre in France have had tremendous impact on their respective economies. As the network is broader and more diverse than any single museum, it offers multiple channels for development The network will span the entire country and pursue sustainable economic and social development from the outset. By drawing visitors to new areas not usually visited, it will encourage and drive investments in these areas thereby contributing to balanced regional development Note: From the Report: “Cultural Heritage and Development: A Framework for Action in the Middle East and North Africa” and “Orientations in Development” series, IBRD (Washington DC, 2001)

7 7 Efforts to date have focused on crafting the vision for Syria’s museums and cultural heritage sites and on putting the building blocks in place for its implementation Assessed current status of Syria’s museums and cultural heritage sites and current challenges Major Milestones to Date Developed several international partnerships and hosted delegations to Syria Drafted a new vision for the museums and cultural heritage sites network Developed organizational and governance design of museums network Recruited Scientific Team and developed workplans Will host international event in April to launch the vision and demonstrate progress underway Began national stakeholder engagement

8 8 International Partners Supporting the Vision International Partners The Louvre Museum (France) The Institut National du Patrimoine (France) École Nationale d‘Administration (France) Ecole d’Louvre (France) Réunion de Musées Nationaux (France) Agence Française de Développement (France) UNESCO (multilateral) Ministry of Culture (Italy) Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Italy) Instituto de Restauro (Italy) Saïd Foundation (UK) We have a number of prestigious and respected international partners and government institutions provide expertise and technical support for the vision’s implementation

9 9 Next Steps 1. Integrate the vision into the Five Year Plan 2. Form a ministerial committee to help facilitate this initiative


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