Ruins of the ancient city of Palmyra. Photo: AP

World Monuments Fund Launches Initiative to Train Refugees in Conservation

The World Monuments Fund has secured $680,000 to train refugees from Syria and Jordan in conservation skills in order to rebuild cultural heritage sites devastated by ISIS and as a result of other conflicts. The award is part of the British Council and the UK government’s Department for Culture, Media, and Sport’s $38 million fund to safeguard heritage and the arts.

To launch the initiative, the World Monuments Fund and its British affiliate, the World Monuments Fund Britain, will work with Petra National Trust in Jordan to open a training facility. The organizations will recruit a group of candidates who can then serve as mentors to other refugees taking part in the eighteen-month program.

“In recent years we’ve witnessed the devastating impacts of human conflict on the Syrian people and their treasured cultural sites, and we are eager to help renew community strength through this exciting new initiative,” Joshua David, president and CEO of the World Monuments Fund, said.

The program will also partner with a British institution in order to teach participating refugees a number of skills, such as stonecutting; mold, template, and maquette creation; masonry; arch stabilization; and quarrying.

John Darlington, executive director of the World Monuments Fund Britain, said, “This project addresses a significant need to assist displaced Syrians, many of them young and in search of a future, and provides valuable skills essential to heritage conservation.”