From 26th to 28th October 2023, an International Workshop on Armenian Cultural Heritage took place in Tsaghkunk, Armenia, organized by the Armenian Studies Division of the Center for the Study of the Christian East at the University of Salzburg and the Department of Cultural Studies at Yerevan State University, co-organized by the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography at the RA Academy of Sciences (Yerevan), the DAR Foundation and Blue Shield Austria.
The workshop aimed to discuss the identification, documentation, and treatment of cultural heritage in Armenia, with a particular emphasis on interdisciplinary approaches, especially in the face of armed conflicts and targeted destruction of cultural assets. Participants had the opportunity to engage in discussions on various theoretical approaches from different academic disciplines and to adapt them to the complex situation in Armenia.
A highlight of the workshop was the field experience day during which participants visited selected cultural heritage sites in the Gegharkunik province gaining firsthand insights into the challenges and opportunities associated with the preservation of cultural assets in the region. The involvement of the Gagarin Project, dedicated to the protection and development of cultural heritage in Gegharkunik, provided a practical context for addressing specific experiences.
Output of the International Workshop on Armenian Cultural Heritage is „The Tsaghkunk Declaration on Armenian Cultural Heritage Identification, Documentation and Handling (Management) (2023)“ concluding in the call for a revised concept of Cultural Heritage in the Republic of Armenia.
On 25th October 2023 Blue Shield Austria together with Paneuropa and the Austrian Peacekeepers invited to a thematic evening focused on "The War in Ukraine: Protecting and Preserving Cultural Heritage“ in Vienna.
Guest speaker Manfred Pinnegger, former Head of Mission at the European Union Advisory Mission (EUAM) Ukraine gave firsthand insights into the coordination of the cultural property protection program that he established during his duty in Kyiv. Board member Leylya Strobl contributed with a thematic impulse on cultural heritage and identity whilst board member Anna Puhr reported on Blue Shield International activities in the Ukraine war context.
Insights into current challenges and the international community's role in preserving cultural heritage were shared by the speakers. Commitment to collaborative efforts was expressed underlining the imperative of protecting cultural heritage in Ukraine and globally.
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