Europa Nostra participates in Conference “Religious Heritage: Europe’s Legacy for the Future” in Paris

On 11-13 October, FRH-Future for Religious Heritage, the European network for historic places of worship and member of the European Heritage Alliance 3.3, organised its biennial Conference “Religious Heritage: Europe’s Legacy for the Future” at UNESCO’s headquarters in Paris. The Conference, which opened with an inspirational concert entitled Musique Sacrée à Notre-Dame de Paris, was a contribution to the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018.

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The Conference encouraged participants to reflect on the challenges that religious heritage is currently facing in Europe and beyond. It brought together experts from the field of religious and cultural heritage, academics, representatives from EU institutions – including Tibor Navracsics, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport -, and representatives from public and private institutions. The Conference provided a forum for both policy debate and the exchange of knowledge.

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The two-day programme focused on four themes – engaging people, promoting sustainability, cherishing heritage and stimulating innovation – and included 11 sessions.

Sneška Quaedvlieg-Mihailović, Secretary General of Europa Nostra, moderated the first session entitled “Who owns Heritage?”, which took place under the theme “engaging people”. Among the panelists were François Decoster, Vice-President of Culture, Haut de France Region, Mayor of Saint-Omer; Olivier de Rohan, President of the Foundation La Sauvegarde de L’Art Français; Bishop Paul Tighe, Secretary Pontifical Council for Culture, The Vatican; and Dr. Frank Strolenberg, Programme Manager, Religious Heritage Agenda, Dutch National Heritage Institute. The Secretary General of Europa Nostra made a call to put religious heritage at the heart of Europe as “we need to change the narrative across Europe and give a soul to Europe”.

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The Conference also included the Closing Ceremony of the FRH Torch of Heritage and Culture, an initiative to raise awareness of Europe’s rich religious heritage by gathering personal letters from prominent members of the international community – including Europa Nostra’s President Maestro Plácido Domingo – but also from European citizens, describing their personal memories and stories related to religious heritage.

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