ALIPH: Why protecting heritage in conflict areas matters

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Protecting Heritage to Build Peace

Protecting Heritage to Build Peace


About ALIPH The International alliance for the protection of heritage in conflict areas (ALIPH) is the only global fund exclusively dedicated to the protection and rehabilitation of cultural heritage in conflict zones and post-conflict areas. It was founded in 2017 in response to the massive destruction of cultural heritage in recent years, primarily due to terrorism and war in the Middle East and the Sahel. ALIPH is a private-public partnership gathering nine members, including seven countries (China, France, Kuwait, Luxembourg, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, and United Arab Emirates) and two private donors (Dr. Thomas S. Kaplan and the Fondation Gandur pour l’art). Based in Geneva, this private foundation has the status of an international organization as per its headquarter agreement signed with Switzerland, its host country. ALIPH also benefits from support from the Principality of Monaco and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. ALIPH funds preventive measures prior to potential conflict to mitigate the risk of destruction; emergency measures during conflict to ensure the protection of heritage; and post-conflict initiatives to rehabilitate damaged heritage and enable local populations to once again enjoy their patrimony. ALIPH protects monuments and sites, museums and their collections, archives and manuscripts, and intangible heritage. It also contributes to the fight against looting and illicit trafficking of cultural goods.


“It is quite rare for a newlyformed organization, let alone a multilateral instrument, to unashamedly celebrate such an aggressive modus operandi. It is even rarer for such a spirit to animate every single member of its team.” Dr. Thomas S. Kaplan, Chair of the Foundation Board

“One month [after the explosion of 4 August 2020 in Beirut], the first works were underway, demonstrating the agility of ALIPH’s intervention method: financing projects by relying on local and international expertise.” Mr. Jean-Luc Martinez, Chair of the Scientific Committee

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Since its founding, ALIPH has committed USD 45 million to support 110 projects in 22 countries across 4 continents. It prioritizes support for concrete and field-based initiatives that benefit local populations. To achieve this, ALIPH works closely with local authorities, communities, and regional operators.


The guiding spirit of ALIPH is “Action, Action, Action!”, and the organization is run with the mindset of a startup; however, quality and rigor are never compromised. All projects are thoroughly reviewed—whether through the framework of annual calls or emergency measures—by the Secretariat, the Scientific Committee, and an international network of 200 experts, before being approved by the Foundation Board.

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ALIPH AROUND THE WORLD ALIPH is currently supporting 110 projects in 22 countries, for a total commitment of USD 45 million.

Bosnia & Herzegovina

Lebanon Libya Mauritania





Côte d’Ivoire






Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) Turkey On Syrian heritage and North-East Syria Georgia Afghanistan Iraq




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How ALIPH works

Reactivity Efficiency Integrity


Project Selection Process

1 2 3 4 5

Call for projects



Eligibility and follow up

International review panels

Technical and scientific assessment

Scientific Committee


Foundation Board

Final selection

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Why does protecting cultural heritage in conflict areas matter? It supports economic and social development in regions facing great difficulties It promotes intercultural and interreligious dialogue and community resilience It contributes to sustainable development and the fight against climate change


“Today, [the Raqqa] museum holds the promise of our future. Look at our response to the Daesh soldiers! We’re here, we haven’t forgotten anything ... When the display cases and antiquities are reinstalled, we’re going to have a big celebration, and the children of Raqqa will come admire the evidence of their history and their past.” Leila Mustapha, co-Mayor, Raqqa, North-East Syria

“I was overcome with sadness and shock in seeing this shrine, which we have protected since it was built in 1844, go up in smoke at the hands of Daesh … The restoration of holy temples and shrines has been vital in encouraging displaced Yazidis to come back home after being driven out by Daesh.” Kamal Bedley Juli, head of the Yazidi Mam Rashan Shrine, Iraq

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Supporting economic and social development in regions facing great difficulties Behind the cultural heritage of countries at war are women, men, and whole families who depend on it for spiritual and economic reasons. The protection and rehabilitation of cultural heritage contribute to economic and social development through job creation, on-site training, or apprenticeships. Each restoration project is also an opportunity to stimulate economies through the supply of local materials and services. Finally, protecting heritage can provide the means to relaunch or develop sustainable cultural tourism.

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Agadez, Niger The city of Agadez, in Niger, was built in the 15th century along caravan roads and presents a rich diversity of architectural styles. The earthen houses built around the Great Mosque are all decorated uniquely with complex shapes and patterns. The mosque’s minaret is one of the tallest mudbrick structures in the world. The combined effects of climate change, which includes flash floods, and civil unrest, which resulted in bombings in 2013, made it urgent to preserve this site. The ALIPH-supported project to document and restore the Great Mosque and 20 surrounding houses employs 120 local professionals and provides training in restoration techniques for 45 young people. Upon completion, these traditional houses will become sites for tourism and cultural activities.

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Promoting intercultural and interreligious dialogue and community resilience Protecting heritage is to preserve cultural and religious traditions and legacies in all their diversity, as well as to nourishing people’s souls. To protect and promote the past means building mutual understanding and dialogue between communities that might have been torn apart. A peaceful future cannot be built without recognizing the complexities of the past. ALIPH works to ensure that the projects it funds include the active participation of local populations and encourages dialogue between cultures and religions throughout the project cycle. Its projects are thus able to serve as a tool for reconciliation and resilience in the wake of a conflict.

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The Mar Behnam Monastery Khidr, Iraq The Mar Behnam Monastery, located in the city of Khidr in northern Iraq and dating to the 4th century, is a site where Christians, Muslims, and Yazidis meet and pray. In 2015, it was vandalized and partially destroyed by Daesh. At the request of the Syriac Catholic diocese of Mosul, it was restored in 2018 by the NGO Fraternité en Irak, with ALIPH’s support. One feature of this project is its multicultural dimension: the rehabilitation was led by an Iraqi archaeologist, a French architect, and local Christian and Muslim workers. It was supported by local populations, who supplied bricks from their destroyed homes to rebuild this site of dialogue and peace.


“The monastery occupies a place in my heart and in the hearts of others. It is an integral part of the region. It shares a common history with the region, which cannot be forgotten or ignored.” Cheikh Imad Hamid Mohamad, Imam, Al-Khidr Mosque

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Contributing to sustainable development and the fight against climate change Of the 20 countries most vulnerable to climate change, 12 are located in conflict areas. Moreover, the extreme meteorological events we are now experiencing are heightening the impact of war and terrorism on cultural heritage. For instance, growing desertification is often followed by large-scale migratory movements, resulting in the abandonment of cultural heritage and potential loss of knowledge about sustainable conservation methods. Thus, in keeping with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), particularly SDG 11.4: “to strengthen efforts to protect and safeguard the world’s cultural and natural heritage,” ALIPH encourages projects that use traditional techniques and local materials in order to reduce the impact of climate change and strengthen resilience.

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Bagerhat, Bangladesh In Bangladesh, the historical mosque city of Bagerhat, among the country’s most important Muslim sites and inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1985, is threatened by the effects of climate change in a region already facing extensive social and economic pressure due to migratory flows and growing poverty. Located at the confluence of the Ganges and the Brahmaputra, today this mosque city faces rising sea levels, leading to frequent and intense flooding and the deterioration of buildings due to salt exposure. As part of a project led by CyArk, a nonprofit organization based in California, this project will provide 3D documentation of the site for its preventive protection and create new opportunities for local heritage professionals.


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“What ALIPH can bring to the international community’s debate and action are a vision, an approach, and a method.” Bariza Khiari, Representative of France and Vice-Chair of the Foundation Board

“There is no question that ALIPH is well equipped to forge ahead with its ambitious plans, no matter what the future brings.” HE Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, Representative of the UAE and Vice-Chair of the Foundation Board



OUR AGILITY One of ALIPH’s greatest strengths is its agility and its capacity to quickly respond to those frequent crises that threaten the world’s cultural heritage. This is made possible thanks to ALIPH’s emergency measures; its quick decision-making processes; the cohesion of its governing bodies; the agility of its Secretariat, composed of about ten people; and the availability of funds. In April 2020, ALIPH launched a support program for local heritage operators to help them surmount the COVID-19 crisis: with a budget of USD 2 million and through a network of international partnerships, the foundation supported some 100 organizations and several hundred professionals in countries in conflict and post-conflict situations. On 4 August 2020, the double explosion in the port of Beirut severely damaged the cultural heritage of the Lebanese capital. To save this heritage, ALIPH immediately launched a USD 5 million action plan to help stabilize monuments and historical houses, and rehabilitate museums, libraries, and religious buildings, in cooperation with the Directorate General of Antiquities (DGA) of Lebanon, international partners, and local NGOs. In one year, ALIPH allocated USD 2.35 million to support some 20 projects. “ALIPH was the first international organization to be at our side. I must say that we were able to sign a contract, come to an agreement, figure out all the logistics in just one month! It was very fast, very, very fast,” Zeina Arida, Director of Sursock Museum.



OUR PARTNERSHIPS Since ALIPH was created, its capacity for agility has been deeply connected to its strong relationships with local and international heritage actors as well as with other development aid agencies, diplomatic networks, and more. ALIPH has developed partnerships with major international bodies including UNESCO, ICCROM, ICOM, ICOMOS, the World Monuments Fund, and Aga Khan Trust for Culture, and cooperates with groups including international and local NGOs, museums, libraries, and cultural institutions. ALIPH also works hand-in-hand with authorities and local communities.



OUR FINANCIAL INTEGRITY Above all, ALIPH ensures control over its operating costs, which do not surpass 10 to 12% of the foundation’s annual budget. This means that 90% of its budget is directly allocated to projects that are supported from start to finish. ALIPH also carefully handles the public and private funding it receives: today, within the context of major market uncertainty, this is mainly invested in American treasury bonds. ALIPH-funded operators are subject to a financial due diligence process to evaluate the organization’s financial solidity, its accounting and financial management capacity, and its internal and external monitoring systems. Operators must also submit financial reports prior to receiving any new payment. Lastly, in addition to the annual inspection of its accounts and its internal monitoring system conducted by an independent audit firm, ALIPH is subject to inspection by the Swiss Federal Supervisory Board for Foundations.



OUR ETHICS ALIPH’s work is guided by the following fundamental values: The protection of heritage Cultural and religious diversity Education and capacity building Gender equality Social cohesion and peaceful coexistence Sustainable local development Peace and reconciliation International solidarity



Chair: Dr. Thomas S. Kaplan (private donor)


Vice-Chair: Ms. Bariza Khiari (France)


Vice-Chair: HE Mohamed Al Mubarak (United Arab Emirates)


HH Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan Al Saud (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia)


HE Sheikha Hussah Sabah Al-Salem Al-Sabah (Kuwait)


HE Martine Schommer (Luxembourg)


Mr. Wen Dayan (China)


Mr. Mehdi Qotbi (Morocco)


Mr. Jean Claude Gandur (private donor)


Dr. Mariët Westermann (qualified personality)


Dr. Richard Kurin (qualified personality)


Prof. Dr. Markus Hilgert (qualified personality)

Non-Voting Members



Prof. Marc-André Renold (Switzerland)


Mr. Ernesto Ottone Ramirez (UNESCO)


Mr. Jean-Luc Martinez (Chair of the Scientific Committee)


Mr. Valéry Freland (Executive Director)


Chair: Mr. Jean-Luc Martinez Ambassador-at-large for international cooperation on cultural heritage (France)


Dr. Mounir Bouchenaki Special Advisor to the Director General of UNESCO and ICCROM (Algeria)


Ms. Amel Chabbi Conservation Section Manager, Department of Culture and Tourism, Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates)


Mr. Wang Chunfa Director, National Museum of China, Beijing (China)


Dr. Laith Hussein Director, State Board of Antiquities and Heritage (Iraq)


Dr. Patrick Michel Lecturer and Researcher, Institute of Archaeology and Antiquity Sciences, University of Lausanne (Switzerland)


Prof. Claudio Parisi Presicce Director, Archaeological and Historical-Artistic Museums of Rome (Italy)


Prof. Eleanor Robson Professor of Ancient Middle Eastern History, University College London (United Kingdom)


Mr. Samuel Sidibe Director General, National Park of Mali (Mali)


Ms. Bahija Simou Director, Royal Archives of Morocco (Morocco)



ALIPH is funded by the contributions of its members— states or private donors—and by partner countries, foundations, and philanthropists. In general, these contributions are not allocated for specific priorities or projects. However, ALIPH can propose a series of projects to potential donors corresponding to their needs and missions. For more information or to plan a meeting to discuss how you or your organization can support ALIPH, contact us: Sandra Bialystok (communication and partnerships): Othman Boucetta (governmental partnerships): Olivia de Dreuzy (partnerships with foundations):


If you are an individual wishing to make a direct contribution to ALIPH, scan the code below to fill out the online donation form. If you are a tax resident of one of the following countries, you may be eligible for a tax deduction: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Switzerland, Spain, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States. TO DONATE online and for all other information, either scan the QR code or go to: WWW.ALIPH-FOUNDATION.ORG Chemin de Balexert 7-9 1219 – Chatelaine – CH +41 22 795 18 00

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ALIPH would like to thank all its partners for providing photos of their projects. None of these photos may be reused, copied, or distributed without the express permission of the copyright owner. The following photos have been reprinted with the permission of these independent photographers and ALIPH grantees:

Cover page (clockwise, from top left) © ALIPH – Thomas Raguet © ALIPH © WMF © ALIPH – Thomas Raguet © ALIPH – Thomas Raguet © CRAterre, Thierry Joffroy © Karamoja Museum © ISMEO © ALIPH Inside cover © ALIPH Pages 2-3 Top to bottom © Sudan Memory Team © Archive, National Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina - Damir Šagolj © ALIPH © ALIPH Pages 4-5 © The Palestinian Museum Pages 6-7 Cambodia: © EFEO [GrezProdCunin] Peru: © Dana-Echevarria Chile: © Centro Latinoamericano del Vitral

Mauritania: © CC 3.0 Mali: © Michele Cattani Côte d’Ivoire: © Fondation Tapa Libya: © Mission archéologique française en Libye Bosnia & Herzegovina: © Archive, National Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina - Dejan Kulijer Lebanon: © ALIPH Niger: © Imane-Atarikh Turkey: © WMF DRC: © Comité Consultatif National pour la protection des biens culturels en cas de conflit armé On Syrian Heritage: Valery Sharifulin/ TASS – Getty Images Sudan: © Western Sudan Community Museums Project Georgia: © International National Trusts Organisation (INTO) Palestine: © Universita degli Studi della Campania Luigi Vanvitelli Ethiopia: © French Embassy in Addis Abiba Somalia: © Horn Heritage Yemen: © GOAM, Mohanad alSayani Eritrea: © Pontificio Instituto di Archeologia Cristina Afghanistan: © UNESCO Iraq: © ISMEO

Page 8 © WMF

Pages 24-25 © CyArk

Pages 10-11

Pages 26-27


© CRAterre

Pages 12-13

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Top to bottom © Xavier de Lauzanne © ALIPH - Azhar Al-Rubaie © ALIPH © WMF

Top to bottom © Xavier de Lauzanne © ALIPH © ALIPH – Thomas de Raguet © ALIPH

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© University of Pennsylvania


Pages 16-17

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All except middle left © Imane Atharik Middle left © Shutterstock

© Sanid Organization for Cultural Heritage

Page 18 © ALIPH – Thomas Raguet Pages 20-21 © Fraternité en Irak (all photos) Page 22 © ALIPH - Azhar Al-Rubaie

Page 34 © Consultancy for Conservation and Development (CCD) Page 36 © The Palestinian Museum Pages 40-41 © WMF Pages 42-43 © ALIPH

You can make a direct contribution to ALIPH’s mission If you are a tax resident of one of the following countries, you may be eligible for a TAX DEDUCTION:

TO DONATE online and for all other information either scan the QR code or go to:


September 2021

Chemin de Balexert 7-9 1219 – Chatelaine – CH +41 22 795 18 00

© ALIPH – All rights reserved

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