As conflict rages across the Middle East and Syria, millions of people have become displaced and a refugee crisis has been created of immense proportions. But alongside this human tragedy a cultural tragedy is also taking place. On a daily basis there is a new story of destruction that is targeting ancient monuments such as the World Heritage site of Palmyra.

To discuss this topic as part of the launch for the new World Monuments Fund Britain programme, Professor Maamoun Abdulkarim, Director-General of Antiquities and Museums of Syria and James Davis, Programme Manager for Google Cultural Institute will tell the story of the human story behind the headlines.

The talk will take place at the Royal Geographical Society  on Thursday the 12th November at 7pm. The evening will be introduced by Lisa Ackerman, Executive Vice-President of World Monuments Fund.

Maamoun Abdulkarim (copyright Directorate General for Antiquities and Museums, Syria)
Maamoun Abdulkarim (copyright Directorate General for Antiquities and Museums, Syria)

In his first visit to the UK, Professor Abdulkarim will discuss how Syria is trying to defend its cultural heritage from insurgent forces. Each of the structures have either simply been caught in the crossfire or deliberately attacked for a variety of reasons – but they are symbol of cultural legacy and can not be replaced – can anything be done to protect them?

Talking of his upcoming visit to the UK Maamoun Abdulkarim said: “It is an honour to be asked to come to London to talk about our crisis in Syria and the work that my team is doing to secure and record our country’s irreplaceable heritage.”

The World Monuments Fund is an independent organisation devoted to saving the world’s most treasured places. John Darlington, Executive Director of World Monuments Fund Britain said: ” Professor Maamoun and his team are in Syria seeing the crisis first-hand and we welcome him as a latter-­day Monument’s Man to London to hear his personal
insights and to ask how we can help.”

The series of events will also take place in March, April and June 2016.


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