“The CHwB Regional Restoration Camps advance the efforts of reconciliation in the Balkans”

The Local Award Ceremony for the Cultural Heritage without Borders’ Regional Restoration Camps, winner of an EU Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Award 2014 in the category Education, Training and Awareness-Raising, took place on 29 September at the Ministry of Culture in Tirana. The event was honored by many partners, friends and supporters from over the years, which assembled on this special day to pay tribute to the remarkable work of CHwB. This is the first time that an initiative conceived and developed in Albania has won Europe’s most prestigious prize in the heritage field.

Local Award Ceremony for the CHwB Regional Restoration Camps, winner of an EU Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Award 2014 in the category Education, Training and Awareness-Raising. Photo: Courtesy of the CHwB Regional Restoration Camps

Local Award Ceremony for the CHwB Regional Restoration Camps, winner of an EU Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Award 2014 in the category Education, Training and Awareness-Raising. Photo: Courtesy of the CHwB Regional Restoration Camps

The CHwB Regional Restoration Camps represent a simple, successful training model, which has grown, from 2007 to 2014, from a few students in Albania to multiple sessions in four countries – Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo and Serbia – with participants from a further eighteen countries.

“The Camps are a good model for training programs across Europe, because they put together students and professionals while helping local communities with the revitalisation of their cultural heritage,” stated Lida Miraj, Council Member of Europa Nostra, during the presentation of the award.

Clive Rumbold, Chargé d’Affaires of the European Union Delegation in Albania, expressed his appreciation for the Camps’ “ability to advance the efforts of regional communication and reconciliation, one of the key aspects of European integration.”

“This award for a great achievement should also be an example to inspire and encourage other organisations and institutions,” stressed Patrik Svensson, Chargé d’Affaires of the Swedish Embassy in Albania, who spoke on behalf of CHwB’s primary donor.

“The Camps began their journey in 2007. The first Camp had only 16 professionals. Given that they came from countries that until recently were in war, they understood that in Albania there are no differences between us and that we enjoy a common heritage, which was entrusted to us as a responsibility but, at the same time, as a right that no one can take away from us,” explained Lejla Hadžić, CHwB Regional Coordinator.

“As we see it, there is a clear link between restoring a building and building human relations, trust, economy, society and, indeed, nations,” added Ing-Marie Munktell, Chair of the Board of CHwB in Sweden.

Several representatives of the Camps’ partner universities participated in the ceremony, including Prof. Lorenc Bejko from the University of Tirana and Etleva Dobjani from the Polis University. In their addresses, they praised the Camps as “a unique professional experience for their students”.

For Arta Dollani, Director of the Institute of Cultural Monuments, it was important to emphasize that with the Camps, as well as the rest of their projects, CHwB has set a new standard. “It is invaluable that these processes have followed the best contemporary European experiences,” said Dollani.

The Local Award Ceremony for the Cultural Heritage without Borders’ Regional Restoration Camps closed with a cocktail, accompanied by live instrumental music, during which partners, friends and supporters of CHwB whished many more proud moments in the near future.

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