ROME, Italy, The United Arab Emirates has been awarded a permanent membership with observer status on the Council of the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property, ICCROM.

The unanimous decision was made yesterday by ICCROM's Council 93rd session in Rome, in recognition of the UAE's support and contributions to the organisation, including hosting the only regional ICCROM Centre for the Arab region in Sharjah, UAE.

With this membership, the UAE becomes one of two countries with permanent status after Italy, where ICCROM's headquarters are situated. The UAE has been granted the right to actively participate in the Working Groups of the Council.

Thanking the ICCROM Member States for nominating the UAE as a permanent member, Noura bint Mohammed Al Kaabi, Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development, said, "Safeguarding culture is a key mission of the United Arab Emirates, both locally and abroad. We have worked extensively in the preservation of cultural heritage and the protection of culturally significant sites across the world.

"The UAE has worked closely in collaboration with UNESCO to restore historic monuments in the city of Mosul. In partnership with the Sheikh Ebrahim bin Mohammed Al Khalifa Centre for Culture and Research, we also recently renovated and reopened Nuzul Al Salam, a heritage house in Muharraq, Bahrain, the ISESCO Capital of Islamic Culture. Culture and heritage play an important role in promoting our national identity and we want to ensure that modern artefacts are also valued; today's buildings and sites could be tomorrow's heritage.

"Since it opened its doors in 2012, ICCROM-ATHAR Centre in the UAE has become an important landmark for cultural heritage advocacy, providing substantive logistical and operational support to protect the cultural heritage of the Arab region, to raise cultural awareness, provide access and a better understanding of our history."

"The UAE values the place of heritage and culture today and its relevance is rising. On behalf of my country, I am proud to reiterate that we will continue to focus on the exploration of our history and heritage with the world, to tell our own story but also to demonstrate the shared story that brings all nations together. For that reason, we will exert the same energy to preserve and protect our cultural heritage and work with ICCROM and other nations to safeguard our global human heritage," she continued.

Dr. Zaki Aslan, Director of ICCROM-ATHAR, Sharjah, said, "The UAE's gracious and continued support of ICCROM and its Sharjah-based regional office stems from the belief of the UAE in the unique and noble mission of ICCROM, since its inception by UNESCO in 1959. ICCROM is grateful to the UAE as it hosts its second and only office outside the headquarters in Rome since 2014, particularly serving the Arab region in a global and inter-regional perspective."

ICCROM-ATHAR (Architectural and Archaeological Tangible Heritage in the Arab Region) is the regional conservation centre founded by ICCROM and the Government of the Emirate of Sharjah in 2012.

The Conservation Centre in Sharjah is a continuation of ICCROM's ATHAR programme, which has dedicated its activities since it was launched in 2004, to the protection of cultural heritage in the Arab region and to broadening access, appreciation and understanding of its rich history.

Basing its philosophy, goals and activities on its wide knowledge and experience in the field of cultural heritage in the Arab region, ICCROM-ATHAR today works to enhance the capacity of official heritage institutions to manage heritage sites, historic monuments and museum collections on a sustainable basis. The 31st General Assembly marks sixty years of ICCROM's activities.

Source: Emirates News Agency