The Fifth International Course On First Aid To Cultural Heritage In Times Of Crisis Starts

01 June 2016

From 2-29 June 2016, the International Center for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM) and the Smithsonian Institution, have organized a training session in Washington, D.C. USA on First Aid to Heritage in Times of Crisis (FAC).

The course provides strategies for interlocking culture specialists with humanitarian specialists during an emergency situation and aims to unify these sometimes conflicting perspectives. It imparts practical skills and knowledge for taking simple measures to secure and stabilize endangered cultural heritage during a complex emergency situation, which in turn can become a driver for peace and holistic development. The recovery and stabilization of such cultural material can be a strategy that allows people to cope in a crisis.

On the occasion of the opening, ICCROM’s Director-General, Dr Stefano De Caro, stated “ICCROM has been involved in the First Aid to Cultural Heritage course for a decade, together with valued partner organizations such as the Smithsonian Institution.  It is a complex field, and our own experience shows to what extent ICCROM will be needed to consolidate this kind of training into an established discipline and practice.”

 When a disaster impacts a community, it is the members within that community that are first to respond. Once their welfare is safeguarded, they immediately begin to assess and attempt to recover their cultural heritage. Their efforts are often strengthened by on the ground humanitarian agencies and members of the military, as witnessed in the aftermath of the catastrophic events in Haiti, Egypt, Tunisia, Syria, and Nepal. FAC is aimed at strengthening such local responses and actors that can have the greatest immediate impact in the recovery and rehabilitation of an affected community. The overall goal is to ensure crisis-affected communities have the ability to participate in their own cultural recovery.

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