ALIPH newsletter | no. 6 Winter 2023
ALIPH: Active on all fronts
Hatra, Iraq, 2023 © Vincent Boisot
Dear reader, True to its motto, “Action, Action, Action,” this past year saw ALIPH’s full mobilization to support cultural heritage protection. Over the course of the year, new crises arose, existing conflicts stagnated, and multiple natural disasters struck with great violence. ALIPH endeavored at each moment to support heritage professionals and local communities by providing cultural heritage first aid, funding projects to strengthen preventive measures, and rehabilitating damaged heritage. To that end, since the summer of 2018, ALIPH has implemented nearly 440 projects in more than 35 countries, half of which have already been completed.
With each crisis of 2023, ALIPH systematically put in place mechanisms to define both its priorities and methods for its intervention to ensure a rapid, flexible, and effective response. This was particularly true for the cultural heritage damaged by earthquakes, first in Syria and Turkey in February, and then in Morocco in September; floods in eastern Libya; tensions in the South Caucasus; and conflicts in Sudan and the Near East. At each juncture, ALIPH has gradually expanded its scope of intervention, sensitive to the numerous challenges that exist at the intersection of climate change, natural disasters, conflict, and heritage. In addition, the Foundation offered its support to the Kingdom of Morocco as a gesture of solidarity with one of its founding members. 2023 was a year of growth for ALIPH by adding two new members – The Republic of Cyprus and the Getty – and securing new donors, including the Ministry of Culture of the United Arab Emirates and the European Union. The year was also marked by the success of the first ALIPH Forum held in March in Abu Dhabi. And in September, ALIPH was recognized for its action as the recipient of the first international prize for cultural excellence awarded by H.H. Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan Al Saud, the Minister of Culture of Saudi Arabia. Finally, this year marked “a change in continuity” of our governance. In November, private donor Dr. Thomas S. Kaplan passed the baton as Chair of the Foundation Board to Ms. Bariza Khiari, representative of France, known for her unfailing commitment and determination to further the ALIPH mission. This newsletter, in which we highlight our achievements in 2023, is a tribute to Dr. Thomas S. Kaplan, who for over six years led ALIPH with immense skill. Dear Tom, we owe you so much. We send you infinite thanks for leading ALIPH towards excellence and effectiveness... and we look forward to keeping you with us as a member of the Foundation Board! Dear Bariza, we are at your side as we strive to succeed together! Dear readers, we are grateful that there are so many of you following us, and we wish you good reading and happy holidays!
Dr. Thomas S. Kaplan and Ms. Bariza Khiari, November 2023 © ALIPH
The first ALIPH Forum
ALIPH Forum, 6-7 March 2023, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates © ALIPH
On the 6 and 7 of March, in Abu Dhabi’s historical center, we held our very first ALIPH Forum, a hugely successful event organized in collaboration with the Department of Culture and Tourism (DCT) of Abu Dhabi, chaired by H.E. Mohamed Al Mubarak, a member of our Foundation Board. More than 200 professionals traveled from over thirty countries, among them heritage experts, representatives of NGOs, states, and international organizations. During discussions, on-stage and off, professionals exchanged good practices and synergies formed between operators in conflict or post-conflict areas. Over the two days, our large "ALIPH family" also heeded the necessity to mobilize against the negative impact of climate change and natural disasters on the cultural heritage of vulnerable countries. Thanks to the diversity of speakers and participants, packed and productive debates, and the results achieved by ALIPH and its partners in the past five years, this Forum demonstrated the decisive role that our young organization now plays in cultural heritage protection. To find out more about the Forum: Forum press release
Looking back on a few of our emblematic projects The Mosul Museum: full reopening scheduled for 2026 In May, ALIPH, in partnership with the State Board of Antiquities and Heritage of Iraq (SBAH), the Mosul Museum, World Monuments Fund (WMF), the Musée du Louvre, and the Smithsonian Institution, organized a major press conference in the heart of this damaged museum to launch the restoration of its main building and inaugurate the temporary exhibition “The Mosul Cultural Museum: From Destruction to Rehabilitation.” This museum is the second largest in Iraq, after the National Museum in Baghdad, and housed a significant collection of national and regional artifacts. Occupied by Daesh in 2014, it was heavily damaged and much of its collections destroyed or looted. Since 2018, thanks to a unique consortium of Iraqi and international partners, it has been gradually brought back to life. Its major artifacts, reduced to pieces by Daesh, are today the subject of a meticulous and unique restoration process, carried out by a Franco-Iraqi team led by the Musée du Louvre.
Mosul Museum, May 2023 © ALIPH
ALIPH in Iraq
The Raqqa Museum exhibits part of its collection In November 2023, ALIPH and its partners La Guilde Européenne du Raid, Roya (a local NGO), and the Raqqa Civil Council marked a joyous occasion with the opening of the first exhibition at the Raqqa Museum (in North-East Syria) since the building was rehabilitated. The Museum was heavily damaged and looted between 2014 and 2017, and only 800 archaeological objects remained out of an initial collection of over 8000 artifacts. In 2019, a rehabilitation project, financed and steered by ALIPH with the support of the Principality of Monaco, was implemented by local and international partners to rehabilitate the building and the remaining collection. On 4 November, the Museum opened its doors to the public – including schoolchildren – with the exhibition “Witnesses of the Past and Present,” to display objects that survived the conflict. The exhibition will run until the end of January 2024. Sadly, this wonderful news was darkened by the sudden death of the former CoMayor of the Raqqa Civil Council, the young, talented, and committed Leila Mustapha, who played a vital role in the rehabilitation and reopening of the Raqqa Museum. Our thoughts go out to her family and loved ones.
Raqqa Museum in 2019 © Xavier de Lauzanne
Raqqa Museum in 2021 © Xavier de Lauzanne
November 2023 - the Museum opens its door to the public and school visits start © Roya
ALIPH continues to support cultural heritage protection activities and professionals in Ukraine Throughout 2023, ALIPH supported hundreds of partners in Ukraine through its “Action Plan for the Protection of Heritage in Ukraine,” launched in March 2022. Thanks to contributions from the European Union (through two grants totaling EUR 4 million), the Getty (with a grant of USD 1 million), the Principality of Monaco (USD 40,000), and its members, ALIPH has financed 180 projects to date, of which 120 have been completed. More than 380 heritage organizations have benefited from this aid. At the invitation of the French Minister of Culture, the Executive Director of ALIPH visited Ukraine in February, and he returned in October to meet local authorities and partners to evaluate projects, identify needs, and show support.
ALIPH Secretariat team in Ukraine with local partners, October 2023 © ALIPH, Thomas Raguet
Red Chamber in Khanenko Museum © Yurii Stefanyak
St. Sergius and St. Bacchus © Khanenko Museum
In June, ALIPH supported the temporary transfer of sixteen rare icons dating from Kyiv’s Khanenko Museum to the Musée du Louvre in Paris. Five of these, the earliest dating from the 6th and 7th centuries, were exhibited in the public exhibition “The Origins of the Sacred Image,” which opened at the esteemed Parisian Museum on 14 June 2023. The exhibition will continue through to 29 January 2024. To document this moment, ALIPH published a brochure telling the story of the Khanenko Museum and this unique project to protect its priceless collection. More photos from Ukraine
ALIPH and Khanenko Museum
Mes Aynak: protecting one of the most beautiful Buddhist sites in Central Asia
Mes Aynak, Afghanistan, November 2023 © Simon Norfolk - AKTC
Located 35 km south of Kabul, the Mes Aynak site is one of the largest archaeological discoveries of the last forty years in Afghanistan. This settlement, which houses the remains of a major Buddhist city, is thought to have been initially established in the 3rd century by the Kushan Empire for mining purposes. It is believed to be built upon the second-largest copper deposit in the world. At an altitude of 2500 meters above sea level, the settlement grew to cover an area of 45 hectares. Mes Aynak included several mining and smelting sites, residential neighborhoods, and outlying religious complexes that housed clay statues, frescoes, and stupas dating from Late Antiquity. Given the possible launch of a mining project on the site, ALIPH and the Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC) started an ambitious conservation and emergency protection program in November 2022 to help the Afghan people preserve their heritage and pass it on to future generations.
Mes Aynak brochure
ALIPH continues to travel the world With two photo exhibits – one, focusing on ALIPH’s general mission, entitled “Protecting Heritage to Build Peace,” and the other on our actions in Ukraine, entitled “Taking Action to Protect Cultural Heritage in Ukraine” – the Foundation has continued to raise awareness on the need to strengthen the protection of heritage around the world. Without this memory, we can have no shared future. Since its inauguration in Geneva in September 2022, “Protecting Heritage to Build Peace” has traveled to eight countries (Switzerland, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Monaco, France, United Arab Emirates, and Eritrea). Other exhibitions are planned for 2024.
ALIPH exhibition “Protecting heritage to build peace” at the Cultural Foundation, Abu Dhabi, UAE, March 2023 © ALIPH
See ALIPH exhibition
The exhibition “Taking Action to Protect Cultural Heritage in Ukraine” was inaugurated during the 5th edition of the Paris Peace Forum in November 2022. Since then, it has been to four countries, including two times to the United States, as well as Belgium, Switzerland, and Ukraine. In 2024, the exhibition will be hosted by the European Union delegation in Kuwait. ALIPH would like to thank all its partners for having presented their testimonials attesting to our joint critical – and necessary – efforts to safeguard cultural heritage at risk.
ALIPH exhibition “Taking action to protect cultural heritage in Ukraine” at the Zuckerman Institute, Columbia University, New York, October 2023 © Zuckerman Institute
See ALIPH exhibition on Ukraine
Latest news from our organization! On 14 November in Geneva, during the 12th meeting of the Foundation Board, Dr. Thomas S. Kaplan, private donor and Chair of the Foundation Board since October 2017, handed the presidency to the representative of France, Ms. Bariza Khiari, who was elected unanimously by the members of the Board. The members paid tribute to Dr. Thomas S. Kaplan, whose presidency enabled the extraordinary scaling up of ALIPH’s impact over the last six years. During the ceremony, Ms. Bariza Khiari declared with emotion: “The protection of endangered cultural heritage is a cause close to my heart. I am convinced, as are all of us at ALIPH, that this heritage can make a decisive contribution to dialogue, mutual understanding, and reconciliation. I look forward to applying both my passion and experience in the service of this mission and our remarkable organization.” ALIPH also welcomed two new members: Dr. Katherine E. Fleming, President and CEO of the J. Paul Getty Trust, and H.E. Spyros Attas, Representative of Cyprus. During the meeting, the Board adopted an ambitious strategy to protect cultural heritage threatened by climate change in countries in conflict, post-conflict, or in crisis. This multi-year plan (2023-2027) will promote traditional knowledge and know-how, contribute to training professionals, and support pilot projects or major initiatives for heritage protection or rehabilitation. With this strategy set in motion, ALIPH subsequently participated in the first meeting of Ministers of Culture as part of COP28 on 8 December in Dubai, organized by the Minister of Culture of the United Arab Emirates. The goal of this meeting was to elucidate the role that culture and heritage can play in mitigating and fighting the impacts of climate change. The same Foundation Board meeting also approved a new series of projects in Yemen, focused on the restoration of built heritage in conflict and climate-affected areas in the country.
Urgent safeguarding, restoration and planning for the rehabilitation of Ghumdhan and Al Yadumi Houses, Sana'a, Yemen © Dar Sahep for Engineering
Finally, over the past year, we said farewell to Dr. Maja Kominko, Scientific and Program Director, who for three years raised the scientific standards and quality of ALIPH projects, and welcomed new colleagues: Dr. Elke Selter, Programs Director; Dr. Bastien Varoutsikos, Strategic Development Director; Harry Tarpey, Strategic Partnerships Officer; and Gala-Alexa Amagat, Project Manager. A secretariat that is growing to fulfill, ever more effectively, its mission!
Annual Report 2022 (English)
Clockwise from top left: Tomb of Askia, Gao, Mali © Michele Cattani Traditional dancing and singing, Abu Dhabi, UAE © ALIPH Traditional dancing, Hatra, Iraq © ISMEO 3D monument scanning, Ukraine © Skeiron
Annual Report 2022 (French)