Qatar National Library’s ( QNL) first anniversary lecture on Tuesday discussed the crucial relationship between cultural heritage and human rights as its main subject. The role heritage plays in maintaining the identity, history and cultural legacy of communities in the Arab region was highlighted.
The event was opened by Dr Sohair Wastawy, executive director, QNL, followed by HE the Minister of State Dr Hamad bin Abdulaziz al-Kuwari, who talked about the efforts that Qatar has been making to support the preservation of, and access to cultural heritage.
“ Qatar, under the leadership of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani gives cultural heritage its utmost attention, and regards it as a cornerstone of cultural efforts in line with our National Vision 2030. Our cultural institutions, including Qatar National Library and Qatar Museums, are working day and night in co-operation with regional and international organisations to preserve heritage and strengthen its status,” he said.
Princess Dana Firas delivering the keynote address.
The keynote speech was delivered by Princess Dana Firas, Unesco Global Ambassador and president of the Petra National Trust, who discussed the protection of heritage sites in conflict zones.
“We are blessed in our region with innumerable natural and cultural treasures and an exceptionally rich heritage. All around us today, in this incredible setting, we see, smell and experience the documentary evidence of thousands of years of human history and relations. This stands as tangible evidence of our region’s role as a wellspring of culture and science, an epicenter of connectivity among peoples and a cultural, historic, religious and economic crossroads for thousands of years,” said, Princess Dana.
“One challenge that many World Heritage sites face today is badly managed tourism and the over exploitation of cultural and natural heritage. Tourism has the potential to reach communities long forgotten by mainstream development and business ventures; it can continue to prosper even in the face of financial crises and economic slowdowns; it can provide jobs when most needed, and if harnessed properly it can contribute to conserving nature and preserving historic sites and cultural traditions.”
Museum of Islamic Art director Dr Julia Gonnella and Dr Wastawy participated in the panel alongside Princess Dana. The panel was moderated by Dr Susan Karamanian, dean of the College of Law and Public Policy at Hamad Bin Khalifa University.
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