The United Arab Emirates has been granted permanent membership to one of the world’s foremost intergovernmental bodies dedicated to cultural preservation.
The UAE was granted observer status on the Council of the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM) by unanimous vote at a meeting in Rome on Friday.
The decision was made in recognition of the UAE’s support to the centre, including its hosting of the only regional meeting for the Arab Region at a Sharjah event.
The centre was created in New Delhi, India in 1956 and is headquartered in Rome, Italy. It has 136 member states.
The UAE is the only country apart from Italy to have permanent membership.
“On behalf of my country, I am proud to reiterate that we will continue to focus on the exploration of our history and heritage with the world, in order to tell our own story but also to demonstrate the shared story that brings all nations together,” said Noura Al Kaabi, the UAE’s Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development. “For that reason, we will exert the same energy to preserve and protect our cultural heritage and work with ICCROM and other nations to safeguard our global human heritage.”
Regional projects by the UAE include its work to restore historic monuments in Mosul, Iraq, in partnership with the Iraqi government and UNESCO. The UAE is financing the $50.4 million reconstruction of the 12th century Grand Al Nuri Mosque and its leaning Al Hadba minaret, a symbol of the city destroyed by ISIS in June, 2017. A cornerstone for its reconstruction was laid in December, 2018.
In Bahrain, the recently reopened Nuzul Al Salam heritage house, was restored in a collaboration between the UAE government and Bahrain's Sheikh Ebrahim bin Mohammed Al Khalifa Center for Culture and Research.