Building peace in the minds of men and women

UNESCO-UNU Conference on Heritage and Conflict

An international conference on the safeguarding of cultural heritage during armed conflict will be held at UNESCO on 12 June (Room 11). The event is organized by UNESCO and the United Nations University (UNU), and marks the 60th anniversary of the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict.

The conference is an opportunity to reflect and share best practices to better protect cultural heritage in times of conflict, as we have been witnessing through the recent destruction in Syria and Mali. At the same time, in Timbuktu, the first two mausoleums destroyed by extremists in 2012 have just been rebuilt with the support of UNESCO.

The conference will be opened by UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova and Director of the UNU-CRIS, Luk Van Langenhove. Keynote addresses will be given by Jean Marie Le Clezio, winner of the 2008 Nobel Prize in Literature, and Bertrand Badie, Professor of Political Science at Sciences’ Po in Paris.

            During the meeting, the world’s leading experts in this field will review the way conflict has evolved over the past six decades, from inter-state warfare to identity and ethno-political clashes.  Heritage in its tangible and intangible forms is frequently targeted in these conflicts because of its highly symbolic nature, which may be both a powerful instrument of reconciliation and an element of division among communities.

            The participants will also reflect on ways to improve coordination and prevent the loss of heritage, as well as promote its preservation. They will discuss concrete cases where heritage has been threatened or even destroyed in the context of conflicts, as well as the multifaceted role heritage plays in achieving sustainable peace and development goals.



Journalists who wish to cover the conference require accreditation

Media Contact

Isabelle Le Fournis, UNESCO Press Service

+33 (0)1 4568 1748;