European Heritage Policy Agora 2022 – Panel “Mobilising forces and voices in solidarity with Ukraine’s cultural heritage”

The European Heritage Policy Agora “For a Value and Culture-Driven Europe”, held on 27 September at the Žofín Palace, was the concluding event of the European Cultural Heritage Summit 2022 in Prague. This inspiring full-day event addressed some of the most pressing challenges facing the heritage ecosystem in Europe, such as the need to mobilise forces and voices in solidarity with Ukraine’s endangered cultural heritage; the role of cultural heritage in fostering peace and solidarity within our societies; and the values of beauty and sustainability for an inclusive green transformation. The Policy Agora benefited from contributions from a wide variety of public and private heritage stakeholders, policy-makers at all levels, young heritage professionals and cultural actors.

European Heritage Policy Agora

The first panel, entitled “Mobilising forces and voices in solidarity with Ukraine’s cultural heritage”, focused on how the war in Ukraine has affected the country’s cultural heritage and the lives of cultural practitioners. It built on the outstanding efforts and swift mobilisation by the European and global communities to support Ukraine’s cultural heritage through emergency and long-term responses of different kinds. These include the joint crowdfunding campaign launched in March 2022 by Europa Nostra and the Global Heritage Fund, which raised €50,000 and was doubled by the matching contribution of € 50,000 by ALIPH – the International alliance for the protection of heritage in conflict areas. With the vital collaboration of the HERI – Heritage Emergency Response Initiative, the campaign led to the subsequent launch of a solidarity fellowship addressed to cultural heritage professionals who have displayed professionalism and civic activism in protecting Ukraine’s cultural heritage during the war. To this date, 125 grants have been distributed to Ukrainian cultural heritage defenders.

The panel was moderated by Nada Hosking, Executive Director of Global Heritage Fund, who stated: “Ukrainians are risking their lives to protect their cultural identity. They need us, we ought to stand in solidarity with them for their civic activism!

The panel was introduced by an inspirational pitch by Oksana Lyniv, conductor from Ukraine and winner of the Helena Vaz da Silva European Award for Raising Public Awareness of Cultural Heritage 2022, who stressed the healing role of music in times of crises. “24 February was a shock for us. All we had was music,” she stated.

Ihor Poshyvailo, Director of the Maiden Museum in Kyiv, Coordinator of HERI – Heritage Emergency Response Initiative, explained how Ukrainians self-organised to develop a cultural emergency system during the war. “Resilience is a key lesson that Ukraine can share with the world,” he affirmed.

Robert Piaskowski, Plenipotentiary for Culture in the City of Krakow, Poland, recalled that “since the outbreak of the war in Ukraine, Krakow has been a shelter city. We first responded at a humanitarian level and quickly realised that cultural response is indeed human”.

Sanne Letschert, Director of the Cultural Emergency Response (CER), highlighted the key success factors of the CER response and action in Ukraine, including quick and flexible support, collaboration, protection of cultural infrastructure, heritage protection as a humanitarian issue and mainstreaming cultural support in other financial envelopes.

Dr. Maja Kuminko, Scientific and Programmes Director of ALIPH – the international alliance for the protection of heritage in conflict areas, paid tribute to the “wonderful network of Ukrainian professionals with great expertise, dedication and solidarity”. She also explained how ALIPH has distributed over 130 grants to support Ukrainian museums, libraries, archives and sites.

A youth intermezzo by Ares Shporta, Director of the Lumbardhi Foundation, followed the panel.

At the end of the panel, a Certificate of Gratitude and Appreciation was presented to Europa Nostra by Ihor Pashyvalo, Coordinator of HERI – Heritage Emergency Response Initiative, in appreciation of our “enduring commitment and outstanding contribution to save cultural heritage of Ukraine in times of war”. This Certificate also states that “It is your support that gives us strength and inspires us to strive for our independence and democratic future based on universal human values – dignity, respect and freedom. By saving Ukrainian cultural identity, we protect world heritage, diversity and peace.”

European Heritage Policy Agora

At the end of the Policy Agora, the Prague Manifesto “For a Value-Based and Culture-Driven Europe” was presented, encapsulating the key messages of the Agora and the entire Prague Summit. The Prague Manifesto makes a strong plea to all European leaders as well as all actors of the cultural and heritage worlds at all operational levels to fully recognise the fundamental and irreplaceable role of culture and cultural heritage as a vector to address Europe’s manyfold challenges to build a more sustainable, more inclusive, more peaceful and more beautiful Europe. In particular, the Prague Manifesto calls to “Deploy the vital resources of the culture and heritage sectors within Europe’s emergency support and recovery schemes for Ukraine, by intensifying our joint commitment for the prevention of irreparable damages to Europe’s cultural heritage in Ukraine and for its long-term restoration and reconstruction in line with high quality standards”.

All news items about the Policy Agora

Opening session
Panel “Mobilising forces and voices in solidarity with Ukraine’s cultural heritage”
Panel “Cultural heritage as a catalyst for peace and solidarity”
Panel “Beauty and sustainability at the core of Europe’s green transformation”
Youth Intermezzos
Closing session

More information about the Policy Agora

Watch the full videos (part I / part II)
See the photo album
Read the programme booklet

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