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DISPLACED YAZIDI COMMUNITIES, SYRIAN REFUGEES TO BENEFIT FROM UK’S CULTURAL PROTECTION FUND

In a press release by the British Council in Beirut, it said, "Money from UK's Cultural Protection Fund, which was established in 2016, which is worth Pound 30 million, will be used by selected organisations, to work in conflict-affected countries - such as Syria, the Occupied Palestinian Territories and Yemen - to allow specialists to carry out projects designed to protect and preserve cultural heritage, including:

- A proposal from the World Monument Fund Britain, to teach Syrian refugees stone-masonry skills;

- A project by the University of Liverpool to work with vulnerable and displaced Yazidis in Iraq;

- Initiatives in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, to address the physical and social fall-out of years of conflict."

The release said, "The heritage which the Fund aims to protect and preserve consists of physical monuments and religious sites, as well as "intangible" heritage: inherited traditions, beliefs and cultural identity, passed down through generations - and all of which have been increasingly under threat in the region, as Daesh has gained power.

Up to Pound 3.9 million has been allocated to projects in the latest rounds of funding, including:

- A project, led by the University of Liverpool, focused on Yazidi historic shrines in Dohuk, Mosul and Sinjar in Iraq. It will engage young Yazidis in documenting memories and experiences associated with the use of the shrines and heritage sites, such as festivals, pilgrimages, rituals and other social practices, as the shrines are an important symbol of Yazidi identity and community cohesion.

- A project to train a group of Syrian and Jordanian students, principally Syrian refugees, in traditional stone masonry skills. The aim of which is to address a preexisting skill deficit in the region, and to put the skills in place to repair heritage, when peace comes to Syria.

- A 30-month project, led by The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, will address the needs of cultural heritage on Soqotra, a Yemeni archipelago between Yemen and the Horn of Africa with rich biodiversity. The project will create a database of Cultural Heritage on Soqotra, assessing and making a record of heritage, including pre-Islamic rock art, threatened with looting or defacement, and heritage buildings threatened by uncontrolled building for a burgeoning population. The project also includes activities that will promote the use of the endangered Soqotri language, as a form of intangible cultural heritage.

- A two-year project that focuses on the documentation, conservation and adaptive re-use of vernacular-built heritage, to address severe conflict damage in As Samou, Occupied Palestinian Territories. Through the project, young apprentices will be trained in cultural heritage conservation and heritage management, and a new Cultural and Youth Centre will be established.

Source: NAM News Network