How can we work together to preserve Algeria’s rich historical sites and artefacts for future generations? This was the question debated at a conference on the security of cultural heritage sites from October 4-7. Twenty-one officials from the Algerian Ministry of Culture participated alongside 16 officials from the Ministry of Culture of Libya, Tunisia and Egypt.
The U.S. Embassy in Algeria and the Algerian Ministry of Culture hosted the conference, which was originally scheduled to take place in person, but was moved to a virtual format due to COVID-19 considerations. US experts from the National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, Federal Bureau of Investigations’ Art Crime Team and Homeland Security each made presentations at the conference, as did Algerian experts from the National Museum of Antiquities in Algeria, Algerian Maritime National. Museum, Ahaggar National Park and National Office for the Management and Exploitation of Protected Cultural Property (OGEBC). The participants engaged in stimulating discussions on best practices for preserving cultural heritage sites, with the help of simultaneous interpretation in Arabic and French.
In his opening remarks, US Chargé d’Affaires Gautam Rana said: “We hope that during this conference we will jointly reflect on new ways to protect our common cultural heritage. “
The director of cooperation of the Algerian Ministry of Culture and Arts, Saadene Ayadi, declared: “The safeguarding of cultural property is a major priority.
The conference also marked the launch of a public awareness campaign on the importance of protecting Algerian cultural heritage sites. The conference is part of a 2019 memorandum of understanding signed between the United States and Algeria on the safeguarding of cultural property and the fight against looting.
As part of the deal’s implementation, the United States recently donated equipment to the Tipaza cultural heritage site, including light poles around the Roman theater, outdoor cameras to monitor the grounds and a wireless fire detection system for the museum. The United States is also working closely with Algeria on cultural heritage preservation projects, including the Roman ruins of Djamila and the mosaics at the Museum of Antiquities.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of the United States Embassy in Algiers, Algeria.
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