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Sat 12/11/2022

This week, the UAE Embassy in Paris and UAE Permanent Delegation to UNESCO co-hosted a Majlon event at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris, focused on cultural heritage protection and reconstruction, taking UNESCO’s flagship initiative "Revive The Spirit of Mosul" as a key example of joint international efforts in this regard. 

In 2018, the UAE joined UNESCO’s flagship “Revive the Spirit of Mosul” initiative, aimed at rebuilding the city’s cultural heritage after the devastation caused by the war. The UAE, UNESCO, and the Government of Iraq signed a historic agreement to rehabilitate and reconstruct some of Mosul’s historic landmarks, such as the Al Nouri Mosque and the leaning Al Hadba Minaret. The UAE contributed USD 50.4 million towards this 5-year project, due to conclude in 2023.

Moreover, the UAE also contributed to the restoration and reconstruction of the Al Tahera and Al Sa’aa Churches in 2019.

The event saw HE Noura Al Kaabi, UAE Minister of Culture and Youth; HE Audrey Azoulay, Director General of UNESCO; HE Hend Al Otaiba, UAE Ambassador to France; HE Sheikh Salem Al Qassimi, Ambassador, Permanent Delegate of the UAE to UNESCO; HE Didier Lenoir, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the European Union to UNESCO; Dr. Thomas S. Kaplan, Chair of the ALIPH Foundation Board; and Omar Mohammed, Professor at Sciences-Po Paris and Founder of Mosul Eye, discuss the importance of cultural heritage in times of instability, and specifically the work carried out in Mosul.

Speakers shed light on the impact of community-based efforts in restoring cultural heritage and the importance of capacity building for long-term sustainable development in Iraq and around the world.

HE Noura Al Kaabi, UAE Minister of Culture and Youth, said: “Revive the Spirit of Mosul is much more than a brick-and-mortar initiative and has a far greater impact because of what it symbolizes, from hope to opportunity and to growth that echoes far beyond Mosul: giving the people of Mosul tangible engagement in the process of rebuilding as partners. This project is very close to my heart, and the leadership of the UAE regards it as one of the most significant peace initiatives for bridging cultures and promoting the heritage of humanity.”

HE Hend Al Otaiba, UAE Ambassador to France, said: “Mosul is a symbol of diversity and tolerance, two of the UAE’s core values. The UAE is proud to contribute to building international partnerships to tackle global issues and reconstruct and restore important cultural landmarks.”

HE Sheikh Salem Al Qassimi, Ambassador, Permanent Delegate of the UAE to UNESCO, said: “The outcomes of the Revive the Spirit of Mosul partnership include not only physically rehabilitating these historical sites, which are foundational to Mosul’s cultural fabric and spirit of peaceful co-existence; they also include the creation of sustainable community spaces, employment opportunities, and capacity building for Moslawis.”

HE Audrey Azoulay, Director General of UNESCO, said: “We are proud of the progress we have made: now Mosul, which was so silent when we began our work in 2018, is coming back to life.”

Dr. Thomas S. Kaplan, Chair of the ALIPH Foundation Board, said: “I could not think of a better, more illuminating example than today’s Majlon session in evidencing the central role that culture — and cultural heritage protection — ought to play in bringing about a more peaceful world and indeed a brighter future for all, especially our children.”

The event marked the latest edition of Majlon, a series of events by the UAE Embassy to build bridges between France and the UAE in key areas of mutual interest. Through the Majlon series, the UAE Embassy in Paris is working to further French-Emirati relations by building on the UAE-France Strategic Dialogue. France is one of the UAE’s key strategic partners, with areas of collaboration spanning a wide range of sectors including energy (Masdar/Engie), education (Sorbonne Abu Dhabi), culture (Louvre Abu Dhabi), and defense (Rafale).

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