On June 24-25, Giorgi Chubinashvili National Research Center for Georgian Art History and Heritage Preservation hosted a virtual international conference “Protection of Cultural Heritage on the Occupied Territories: Georgia and International Experience”. The two-day conference presented international examples of cultural heritage protection in the occupied territories from Georgia and Ukraine.

The conference was opened by the Minister of Culture, Sports and Youth affairs of Georgia, Tea Tsulukiani and the Minister of Education and Science, Mikheil Chkhenkeli.

The topics of the first day’s session were: cultural heritage, armed conflict and occupation. The panel was opened by Prof. Peter Stone, President of Blue Shield International, who spoke about the organization, its strategic priorities and aspirations and the notion of the protection of cultural heritage in the occupied territories. Researchers from Ukraine discussed the current developments in the annexed Crimea, as well as the experience of saving museum collections during the “Euromaidan” in Kiev. The Georgian specialists spoke about the problems related to the protection of cultural heritage in occupied Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali regions. At the end of the session, a representative of the Center for Cultural Heritage of the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania spoke about the mechanisms for stronger international cooperation in the protection of Georgia’s cultural heritage. The second day of the conference was dedicated to the review of the ethno-cultural context of the heritage in the occupied territories of Georgia and the speakers were Georgian scholars.

The conference was attended by about a hundred Georgian and foreign listeners. A discussion was held at the end of each session. Participants and organizers unanimously noted the need to turn such a conference into a regular event.

Conference poster

“If we are to protect people during armed conflict, we must acknowledge that we also need to protect their heritage”.

~Professor Peter Stone, President of the Blue Shield

The conference was supported by the grant of the Shota Rustaveli National Science Foundation of Georgia. Partner organizations were: Korneli Kekelidze Georgian National Centre of Manuscripts Ivane Javakhishvili Institute of History and Ethnology under Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University The conference was supported and co-hosted by the Georgian National Committee of the Blue Shield.

The recording and proceedings of the conference will soon be published on the website of the Chubinashvili Center.