Restoring a synagogue in Brazil, preserving recordings in Namibia or conserving an Indian ruler’s tomb: since 1981, Germany has been helping to protect cultural heritage around the world. The destruction of cultural property due to terror, war or natural disasters poses a threat to humankind’s cultural heritage. The destruction of the past also endangers the present and the future. Protecting, preserving and rebuilding cultural heritage is thus a field where Germany is active.
Learning the ropes of cultural preservation
At the launch of a series of information events on the Cultural Preservation Programme of the Federal Foreign Office, Heidrun Tempel, the Director for Research and Academic Relations Policy and Cultural Relations Policy, debated on Tuesday, 11 April 2017 with pupils from UNESCO schools in Leipzig on the importance of preserving humankind's historic and cultural legacy.
Cultural heritage is not just stones or buildings from the past but in fact has a lot to do with the present, with our background and our sense of belonging. The pupils of the Johannes Kepler Gymnasium proved this with their own cultural preservation projects such as “UNESCO world heritage in a shoebox” or their project week looking at the cultural heritage of the Sorbs. For Heidrun Tempel, this is the basis for peaceful co-existence, cultural diversity and dialogue with other cultures.
Contribution to intercultural understanding
Together with the chair Mirko Drotschmann, Aino Moongo, curator of the Namibian cultural preservation project “Stolen Moments – Namibian Music History Untold”, and Thomas Ladenburger, founder and project head of “Virtual Museum Djemaa El Fna”, light was shed on the background to and mandate of cultural preservation as a way of strengthening national identity and on involving local populations. The discussion also focused on how pupils in UNESCO Associated Schools can make a contribution to intercultural understanding, monument protection and cultural preservation.
As part of this series of events, the Federal Foreign Office will be uploading videos in the coming weeks on eleven selected projects such as the rescuing of centuries-old Islamic manuscripts from Timbuktu, the preservation of the Angkor temples and the creation of a digital register of Syrian cultural property.