Heritage & Conflict: Syria’s Battle to Protect its Past

12 Nov 2015

Event times

7.00 pm (Doors open 6.30 pm)

Cost of entry

£15 (standard entry); £10 (WMF members only)

Royal Geographical Society

London, United Kingdom


Travel Information

  • Tube: South Kensington

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Syria’s Monuments Man to give first ever talk to a London audience on what it’s like to be “the world’s saddest Director of Antiquities”


As conflict rages across the Middle East and North Africa, millions of people have been displaced, creating a refugee crisis of immense proportions.  Alongside this human tragedy a cultural one is being played out, in which heritage is being deliberately targeted. We learn daily of the destruction of ancient monuments at places such as the World Heritage site of Palmyra, and elsewhere in the region.


To launch an important new World Monuments Fund Britain programme of issue-based events, Professor Maamoun Abdulkarim, Director-General of Antiquities and Museums for Syria, and James Davis, Programme Manager for the Google Cultural Institute, will tell the human story behind the global headlines and report on the latest international efforts to document cultural heritage.  The evening will be introduced by Lisa Ackerman, Executive Vice-President of World Monuments Fund.  

With the loss of cultural heritage dominating the media, in his first visit to the UK, Professor Maamoun Abdulkarim will talk about Syria’s frontline efforts to protect its irreplaceable heritage from insurgent forces. The structures, whether caught in the crossfire, deliberately destroyed to gain the media spotlight or looted to fund extremist activity, are symbolic of a treasured cultural legacy and are simply irreplaceable. What if anything can be done to protect what remains?

World Monuments Fund is the leading independent organisation devoted to saving the world’s most treasured places and this series will bring speakers to London who are closest to the international heritage stories making the very latest news. 

This event is generously supported by American Express.

This series of events will continue in March, April and June 2016.


John Darlington

Exhibiting artists

Professor Maamoun Abdulkarim

James Davis


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