Preserving Cultural Heritage in Armenia Project wins a Europa Nostra Award 2015

The training programme Preserving Cultural Heritage in Armenia has received a Europa Nostra Award 2015. The public announcement was made today by Europa Nostra, the leading European heritage organisation. The Europa Nostra Award is presented to outstanding achievements from European countries not taking part in the EU’s Creative Europe programme. This award-winning project from Armenia will be honoured – together with this year’s winners of the European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Awards – at a ceremony to be held on 11 June at the City Hall of Oslo in Norway. The renowned opera singer and President of Europa Nostra Plácido Domingo will co-host the European Heritage Awards Ceremony.

Preserving Cultural Heritage in Yerevan, ARMENIA
The Preserving Cultural Heritage in Armenia project is  with a significant contribution from the National University of Architecture and Construction of Armenia. It aims to promote best practice in heritage conservation, while stimulating the international exchange of knowledge and expertise.

The programme was carried out between 2012 and 2014. More than 60 teachers and experts joined the project and contributed to the training of numerous young scholars with Armenian, Persian or Syrian citizenship. Some 56 university students were admitted, with free participation, to one of the four Master’s Courses organised by the Politecnico di Milano together with the National University of Architecture and Construction of Armenia. Around 150 students – architects, engineers, archaeologists, restorers, craftsmen, museum professionals and public officials – took part in specialised practical courses. The programme also contributed to the restoration of the frescoes of the monastic complex of Kobayr as well as to the study of the cathedral and archaeological site of Aruch, including excavations, structural repair design and fresco conservation.

The participation of experts from 14 different countries in the project’s final conference demonstrated the interest of the international community in Armenia’s heritage and raised awareness about the importance of preserving it for present and future generations. The presence of representatives from Georgia, Turkey, Iran and Syria also showed that culture and heritage can play a major role in the peace-building process.

“What made the strongest impression on the Jury was the effectiveness of the partnership between two nations, not immediate neighbours but sharing a philosophy in relation to their pasts. The involvement of the Politecnico di Milano ensured that the approach was rigorously scientific and objective, and Armenia could not really have managed without the Italian technical know-how. The debt is acknowledged and the benefits are considerable, bringing dividends well beyond Armenia’s borders to the Armenian diaspora,” stated the Award Jury.

“The preservation of cultural heritage, which is at the heart of Armenian cultural policy, ensures the development of our civilisation. The experts who participated in the training programmes acquired up-to-date knowledge and new skills which they will use for the study and preservation of national heritage. I hope that the effective cooperation between Italian and Armenian institutions in the field of cultural heritage will continue”, stated Hasmik Poghosyan, Minister of Culture of the Republic of Armenia.

The Italian Cooperation (DGCS) considers culture as an essential driver for economic and social development. The project, jointly carried out by DGCS and the Politecnico di Milano, is a sound investment in cultural heritage. It contributes to improving the quality of life for present and future generations, promotes peace-building in the region, and creates significant incentives to local business activities.

The European Heritage Awards Ceremony is part of Europa Nostra’s annual European Heritage Congress, which will take place in Oslo from 10-14 June 2015. The Congress is supported by the European Union’s Creative Europe programme, Riksantikvaren – the Directorate for Cultural Heritage and the Arts Council of Norway, and the City of Oslo, among many other public and private bodies from Norway.

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Joana Pinheiro
Europa Nostra Communications Officer
+31 70 302 40 55

Elena Bianchi
Europa Nostra Heritage Awards Coordinator
+31 70 302 40 58

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