The International Council for Monuments and Sites or ICOMOS, the global pioneers and front runners in promoting and enhancing professionalism in conservation, management, planning and development of India's diverse heritage is geared to organise the first ever ICOMOS General Assembly and Scientific Symposium 2017 in Delhi.
Themed "Heritage and Democracy",a highly relevant, vibrant and much needed platform will have participation from over 1,000 delegates across 68 countries around the world. The event is aimed at providing a much needed opportunity to promote international co-operation and strengthen understanding thereby creating a robust ecosystem in the field of heritage conservation.
The event is supported / backed by Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs and Ministry of Culture, Government of India, Government of Jammu and Kashmir, Bihar and Odisha Tourism and key players in this sector.
Eminent global and national speakers such as Ede Yildirim, Gamini Wijesuria, Sudha Gopalakrishnan, Tim Badman, Laila Tyabji, Shiv Visvanathan from the region, India and across the world would be sharing critical insights, case studies and processes in heritage recognition, conservation and management.
Renowned heritage professionals and enthusiasts such as archaeologists, architects, urban planners, engineers, curators, building conservation professionals, art historians from diverse cultural backgrounds will be present to share, exchange and brainstorm relevant topics in the four subthemes of Integrating Heritage and Sustainable Urban Development by Engaging Diverse Communities ; Role of Cultural Heritage in Building Peace and Reconciliation; Protecting and Interpreting Cultural Heritage in the Age of Digital Empowerment; Culture- Nature Journey, exploring the Complexities of Human Relationships with Natural and Cultural Places under the overarching theme of 'Heritage and Democracy'.
"These are challenging times. Hence, conservation of heritage buildings provides a sense of identity and continuity in a fast changing world for future generations. Not only does it play a critical role in defining the landmark within the heritage area, it generates economic return and supports the tourism industry. These constitute together the architectural heritage of an area and possess historical values resulting from their beautiful architecture and their correlation with important events that occurred in the heritage area such as religious, social and political events," said Gustavo Araoz, President, ICOMOS.
"Heritage buildings are subjected to processes of degradation with time, which leads to a situation in which they became not able to fulfill the purpose for which they were built. Therefore, it's a clarion call to protect and conserve them," he added.
ICOMOS as a non-Governmental organisation was conceived with a single minded objective in promoting the conservation, protection, use and enhancement of monuments, built ensembles and sites. Its key role is to develop common doctrines in the evolution and circulation of ideas and in raising awareness about issues related to heritage conservation.
Working as an advisory body to the World Heritage Committee for the implementation of the UNESCO World Heritage Convention, its rationale is to evaluate World Heritage nominations for the cultural properties and advise on the state of conservation properties already inscribed on the World Heritage List.
With a wide network of experts that benefit from the interdisciplinary exchange of its members such as architects, historians, archaeologists, art historians, geographers, anthropologists, engineers and town planners, it immensely contributes to improving the preservation of heritage, the standards and the techniques for each type of cultural heritage property - buildings, historic cities, cultural landscapes and archaeological site.
India ranks very high in our list of priorities. India has been known for its rich cultural heritage and historic background. ICOMOS India which was set up in 2011 is intrinsically linked to the regional and international complementary ICOMOS committees and hence brings to these platforms paradigms arising from the Indian context, both in theory and practice from the Indian cultural heritage fraternity. It further helps its members connect to a worldwide network of professionals involved in heritage protection and encourage interdisciplinary dialogues.
A triennial five daylong event is expected to be packed with informative sessions including a Scientific Symposium, an Exhibition, and Heritage Tours etc which will inspire its participants to consider alternate cultural possibilities and cognitively respond to global challenges that relate to tangible and intangible resources.
The General Assembly 2017 will further serve as a forum that will promote international co-operation and strengthen understanding and communication between cultures through the field of cultural heritage.
"We have been overwhelmed by such mega participation and are confident to make its huge success. We intend setting a new milestone in Heritage Conservation!" said Araoz.
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