On the occasion of Monument Day, which is coordinated by the Federal Monuments Office and takes place every year on the last Sunday in September all over Austria, Blue Shield Austria organized a symposium that addressed the relevance of cultural heritage and the protection of cultural property on a national and international level. This took place at Castle of Grades which is a medieval castle whose history goes back into the Middle Ages. It has been carefully revitalized and made accessible to the public since 2015 by our board member Constantin and the extensive renovation work actually finished on Monument’s Day.
The program started with guided tours through the castle which included the visit of Austria’s oldest intact open fire kitchen, later there was actually a fire burning. In addition, a photo exhibition by the Austrian-Lebanese photographer Tanya Traboulsi took place showing the complex and restless relationship to terms such as “home” and „memory“ that has influenced Tanyas photographic work over the years.
In the afternoon, Blue Shield Austria organized a symposium on cultural heritage that included topics such as the preservation of monuments, CPP in the military sector, the threatened culture in Armenia as well as an overview of Blue Shield’s international missions.
The event ended with a final reception in the castle's courtyard.
General-Secretary Ms. Leylya Strobl and BSA member Jasmine Dum-Tragut, took part in the conference on international religious freedom and peace that was organized by the Holy See in Etschmiadzin. The topics of the conference included access to places of worship in conflict areas, the protection of religious and ethnic minorities, and the preservation of cultural heritage. The conference also discussed the recent conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh), an area in the Caucasus between Armenia and Azerbaijan, the international status of which remains unresolved. The speakers reported on numerous incidents of desecration of churches and monasteries and the destruction of religious and cultural sites. Another meeting with representatives of BS Austria takes place in the Museum of Genocide in Yerevan. The result of the meeting was the decision to set up an Armenian Committee for the Blue Shield.
BSA President Habsburg spoke on 7 September 2021 in the Kardinal-Schwarzenberg-Haus in Salzburg about his travel experience in the Tur Abdin. From 28 August to 3 September 2020, he visited the historical churches and monasteries of Syro-Aramaic Christianity in southeastern Turkey.
In the public event "Responsibility of the World Church and World Community for the Christian Heritage of Tur Abdin", the President emphasized the historicity of Tur Abdin as a world cultural heritage, which with the Aramaic language Jesus belongs to the origin of Christianity and should therefore be brought to the attention of the world community.