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Protecting mankind's cultural heritage in crisis areas. From experiences on the field to the training of "First Aiders" in Washington DC. By Alessandro Bianchi, with the participation of Aparna Tandon



Protecting mankind's cultural heritage in crisis areas. From experiences on the field to the training of

What can be done in areas of conflict to save cultural heritage? How do we deal with destruction and how can we restore what has been damaged?

While actors from the international community are engaged on the field in safeguarding our shared memories of the past even in the most dangerous and dramatic circumstances, new initiatives arise in countries at peace to prepare new generations of experts able to intervene. Alessandro Bianchi, an expert from Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism with an extensive practice on the field will lead us through the experience of Italy in the Middle East and in Libya - from the restoration of transboundary Jeser Almajameh / Gesher Crusader Bridge on Jordan River to the satellite investigation of war-inflicted damages in Iraq.

Aparna Tandon, from ICCROM, the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property, will present "First Aid to Cultural heritage in Time if Crisis", an innovative international training by ICCROM and the Smithsonian Institution designed to enhance local, national and regional capacities for protecting cultural heritage during complex emergencies, to be held this year in Washington DC from 2-29 June.

This event is presented by the Embassy of Italy and the Italian Cultural Institute in Washington DC and it is part of the "Protecting our Heritage" initiative, a program supported by UNESCO and organized by the Washington Network of the European Union National Institutes of Culture (EUNIC), under the 2016 Italian presidency, in order to raise awareness on the need to act against the growing threats posed to cultural heritage by wars, international terrorism, criminal organizations, climate challenges - or more simply, by neglect.





Embassy of Italy - Auditorium
3000 Whitehaven Street NW 
Washington, DC 20008



Art Historian
General Secretariat
Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism

Expert in European Mediaeval Art, Alessandro Bianchi joined the Ministry in 1986. In this position he was mainly engaged in the field of restoration and conservation of ancient artworks, like wall paintings cycles and wooden artifacts. Since the nineties he has been engaged in the issue of protecting threatened heritage in conflict situations and in supporting the authorities in recovering capacities.

The first experiences were done in Balkans where heritage became target of the interethnic wars, first in Bosnia Herzegovina and then in Kosovo. In this situation the Ministry supported initiatives aiming at re-establishing interethnic confidence through the restoration of monuments attacked and damaged.

After the 2003 Iraqi war he was engaged as coordinator of the initiatives undertaken by the Italian side in support of the local authorities, namely the State Board of Antiquities and Heritage. In 2004, the restoration laboratories of the Iraqi National Museum in Baghdad were refurbished and the most important artifacts looted in April 2003 have been restored. In the following years, and until the present, a high number of other initiatives have been undertaken, even in collaboration with Kurdistan Regional Government.

Since 2005, he is engaged in Israel, following a Memorandum of Understanding between the General Secretariat and the Israel Antiquities Authority, with a number of initiatives in the field of exchange of technical skills and experiences.

Other countries of activities have been North Korea, China, Ethiopia, Algeria, Serbia, and Jordan.


Project Specialist
Collections Unit, ICCROM - Italy

Working at ICCROM since 2004, Aparna specialized in disaster risk management for cultural heritage. She has over seventeen years of post-qualification work experience, and has developed training for the conservation of cultural heritage in Asia, the Middle East, Europe, Africa and in South America.

As a Project Specialist at ICCROM she is coordinating its international capacity development programme on disaster risk management and leading its flagship training on First Aid to Cultural Heritage in Times of Crisis. Additionally, she leads the SOIMA (Sound and Image Collections Conservation) programme, aimed at safeguarding endangered audiovisual heritage. In the past, she has contributed to the planning and implementation of Teamwork for Integrated Emergency Management, a collaborative training initiative of ICCROM.

Aparna has recently concluded ICCROM’s collaborative effort at developing capacity for cultural recovery in Nepal. In December 2013, Aparna was invited by UNESCO to lead damage assessment of movable cultural heritage in the aftermath of the Bohol earthquake and typhoon Haiyan in Philippines. She led the post conflict risk assessment of the national archives in South Sudan in 2012, and in August 2010, she led the ICCROM-Smithsonian Institution joint training to build capacity for the recovery of cultural collections in Haiti damaged as a result of a massive earthquake in January 2010. Through ICCROM-ATHAR centre in Sharjah, she has held workshops and field schools for protecting heritage in conflict-afflicted countries including Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Egypt and Iraq.

Aparna has an MA in Art Conservation from the National Museum Institute, India. She has received advanced level training in Paper Conservation from the Straus Center for Conservation, Harvard University Art Museums, USA. In 2001-2002 she enhanced her professional experience first, as the Fulbright Arts Fellow at the Preservation Directorate of the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., and then as a Conservation Guest Scholar at the Getty Conservation Institute, Los Angeles, USA. From 1998 to 2004, she worked as the Curator-Conservator at the Amar Mahal Museum and Library in Jammu & Kashmir, India.


Data: Ven 27 Mag 2016

Orario: Dalle 19:00 alle 21:00

Organizzato da : Embassy of Italy/Italian Cultural Institute

In collaborazione con : Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activiti

Ingresso : Libero


Embassy of Italy