Newswise — For many, the term “cultural heritage” brings to mind famous monuments and ancient ruins. Yet heritage encompasses a vast range of cultural landscapes and sites, from modern social hubs to remote ancestral landmarks. Together with community traditions and narratives, these historic sites form today’s diverse tapestry of cultural heritage.
Protecting cultural heritage requires collaboration, dedication, and involvement with all levels of government and civil society. In particular, cultural heritage protection necessitates community engagement and empowerment.
“Cultural heritage belongs to communities, both as a resource and as a responsibility,” explains Sneška Quaedvlieg-Mihailović, Secretary General of Europa Nostra, the leading heritage organization in Europe. “Community engagement is a cornerstone of any heritage project; a parameter of quality and a prerequisite for its sustainability and success. Cultural heritage and the values attached to it — what makes it meaningful — are determined by communities. By transmitting these from one generation to the next, communities keep heritage alive.”
Although governments and civil society have increasingly worked to engage and empower communities in heritage projects, many voices are still overlooked and ignored far too frequently. In particular, women continue to be marginalized and left out of cultural and historical narratives.
“When it comes to cultural heritage, much still remains to be done to ensure that women’s narratives, memories and stories are duly recognized, heard and echoed,” says Quaedvlieg-Mihailović. “We must continue working relentlessly to allow and encourage women’s full ownership and leadership in cultural heritage projects.”
Meaningful protection for heritage sites requires inclusive projects that encompass the viewpoints of women. Global Heritage Fund supports such projects and women’s leadership around the globe, with women leading fully half of our projects.
Executive Director Nada Hosking highlights the importance of women in heritage protection throughout the world. “When we focus on the work and voices of women, and bring them to the governing table, we gain an immeasurable richness in perspective that would otherwise be lost. Women’s contributions are integral to the continued flourishing of Global Heritage Fund as an organization and of the heritage sector as a whole,” Hosking says.
Global Heritage Fund will recognize and celebrate women leaders at the upcoming Women Leaders in World Heritage event at St James’s Palace, the setting for some of the most important events in British Royal history.
Having been a residence of Kings and Queens of England for over 300 years until the reign of Queen Victoria, the Palace today remains an important part of the Royal’s lives for its continued use for State visits, ceremonial, and formal occasions. This royal setting is an outstanding example of a living cultural site bridging the past and present, while inspiring protection far into the future.
The event is possible thanks to the support of His Royal Highness, Prince Richard, The Duke of Gloucester, the Royal Patron of Global Heritage Fund.
Our evening will highlight the women leading Global Heritage Fund projects, including Moroccan architect and anthropologist Dr Salima Naji, Beijing-based preservation architect Dr Kuanghan Li, Indian preservation architect Ms Abha Narain Lambah, and Turkish architect conservator Dr Ebru Torun.
In addition, the evening will celebrate global women leaders in the heritage field: Europa Nostra Vice President Androulla Vassiliou, Former Chair of the Indonesia Heritage Society Ro King, JSW Foundation Chairperson Sangita Jindal, and New York City Landmarks Preservation Commissioner Adi Shamir-Baron.
At a time when women are still routinely excluded from leadership roles, it is heartening to see strong women leading in the heritage world. We look forward to celebrating their many accomplishments now and far into the future, and we thank you for your ongoing support of women leaders in cultural heritage.
Please direct event press inquiries to:
Director, Global Heritage Fund UK
Communications, Global Heritage Fund