Islamic Manuscript Collections in Conflict Zones: Safeguarding Written Heritage

Short course: Islamic Manuscript Collections in Conflict Zones: Safeguarding Written Heritage

5–7 October 2015, Royal United Services Institute, London, UK.

Organised by The Islamic Manuscript Association in partnership with the Royal United Services Institute, with the support of the Thesaurus Islamicus Foundation, Harvard University, and Boston College.

this intensive three-day programme will introduce the concepts and mechanisms that underpin cultural property protection (and destruction) in the present day and educate participants in best practices of managing, protecting, and preserving manuscript collections at risk. Case studies will examine incidents of manuscript and book destruction in Bosnia, Iraq, Libya, and Mali, while presentations and roundtables will survey the legal aspects of and military involvement in cultural property protection, the destruction of memory, and the way forward. Topics covered will include the 1954 Hague Convention; military operational planning processes; prosecuting cultural property crimes; developing and implementing no-strike lists; iconoclasm and the erasure of cultural memory; and looting and the trafficking of cultural artefacts.

The course is co-directed by Lt. Col. (retired) Dr Joris D. Kila, Chairman, International Military Cultural Resources Working Group and Senior Researcher, Centre for Cultural Heritage Protection, University of Vienna. Confirmed speakers include:

Colonel Matthew Bogdanos, Assistant District Attorney in Manhattan
Mr Marco Di Bella, Freelance Book and Manuscript Conservator and UNESCO Consultant
Mr Karl von Habsburg-Lothringen, President of the Association of National Committees of the Blue Shield
Dr Joris Kila, Chairman, International Military Cultural Resources Working Group
Professor Roger O’Keefe, Chair of Public International Law, University College London
Mr András Riedlmayer, Bibliographer in Islamic Art and Architecture, Harvard University
Professor Franck Salameh, Associate Professor of Near Eastern Studies, Boston College
Dr Christos Tsirogiannis, Research Assistant, Trafficking Culture Team, University of Glasgow
Dr Hafed Walda, the pending Deputy Ambassador to the permanent Libyan delegation at UNESCO
Dr James Zeidler, Associate Director for Cultural Resources, Colorado State University

The course is limited to twenty-five persons. All instruction will be in English. A certificate of attendance will be presented on completion of the course. To register your interest, please submit an application.

Course details, and how to apply can be found here.

A summary of the event was written by Thesigers, available online here, or as a pdf here.