Protecting Our Heritage

I am a human, and nothing of that which is human is alien to me. This famous quotation by the Latin play writer Terence (II Sec BC) is often cited as the motto of Humanitas, an ideal based on the fulfilment of the best human potential and values, the pursuit of beauty, education, kindness and tolerance.

This concept, in its various forms, with the multiple challenges of history, crossed centuries and shaped civilizations everywhere on our planet.

Humanitas reminds us why cultural heritage, intended as the legacy of physical artifacts and intangible attributes inherited from past generations, is never alien to us, and why protecting it is an imperative for all. This heritage is somehow the testimony of the common path followed by human society to achieve its self-fulfillment. This patrimony continues to be a source of identity, learning, and inspiration for present and future generations.

Nowadays, our common heritage is facing growing threats posed by wars, international terrorism, criminal organizations, climate challenges – or more simply, oblivion.

In order to increase awareness and build networks of institutions and experts working on this subject, the Washington cluster of the European Union National Institutes of Culture (EUNIC), following a proposal by the Italian rotating presidency, has agreed to focus on the topic Protecting our Heritage as one of the main themes for its 2016 activities.

The program is implemented in partnership with a number of prominent institutions – including international organizations, universities, museums, foundations.

We follow a positive and pragmatic approach, focusing not only on what the international community already does to protect human heritage, but also on what more is within our reach to do.

The program focuses on the following topics:

  • Archaeology as a practice of cultural identity: How can we work together to protect and re-discover cultural heritage of the past and to make it relevant for our present cultural identity?
  • Diplomacy in the service of art: How can we establish a set of rules and practices to improve the safeguard of cultural heritage and raise public awareness?
  • New instruments to protect cultural heritage: How can we use new technologies and new tools to track and protect cultural heritage?
  • National and International organizations devoted to the preservation of heritage: What are the roles and the missions of  different actors?
  • Protecting cultural heritage during conflicts: What can be done in areas of conflict to save cultural heritage? How do we deal with destruction and how can we restore what has been damaged?
  • Commemorative initiatives: To honor the memory of the heroes who served cultural heritage, and of heritage that has been lost.
  • Protection of Intangible Heritage: Why is it important to protect heritage that we cannot touch? How do we achieve that?

If you feel that your organization can join our program - if you feel that protecting our heritage is of great value - you are welcome to propose idead for joint initiatives. 

Follow the buzz on: #Unite4Heritage, #EUNIC