Qatar Museums (QM) commemorated young volunteers from Qatar and around the world at a formal gala dinner last night, following the completion of a 20-day project to conserve the historical Al Zubarah heritage site.
More than 50 young volunteers were present the event, which was set in the stunning courtyard at the Museum of Islamic Art and attended by senior QM and UNESCO representatives. During the prestigious event, Ali Al Kubaisi, Chief Archelogy Officer at Qatar Museums, thanked the volunteers for their time, hard work, passion and dedication in playing their part to preserve the Al Zubarah heritage site, Qatar’s largest heritage site and recently named a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The project formed part of UNESCO’s World Heritage Volunteers (WHV) ‘Together for Heritage’ campaign, an initiative that sits within the framework of the UNESCO World Heritage Education (WHE) Programme, aimed at increasing awareness and reinforcing the importance of conserving and protecting world heritage. The initiative helps to develop youth appreciation and respect for heritage and cultural diversity, creating a positive attitude towards heritage preservation.
The Al Zubarah Volunteers Program is sponsored by Ali bin Ali Group, Seashore Group and Ooredoo.
During the project, volunteers, who arrived from all over the world from countries including Spain, Nigeria, Germany, Iraq, Jordan, Mexico, Egypt, UAE, Benin, Ghana, Yemen, Pakistan Taiwan, Belgium, Turkmenistan, Malta, and Algeria, as well as 12 volunteers from Qatar, took part in a series of both awareness raising and hands on activities at Al Zubarah fort and other parts of the site, all focused on preventive conservation and preservation techniques. This included working with QM’s Architectural Conservation Team, where volunteers were taught the basics of masonry conservation, plaster consolidation and how to write documentation and conservation reports about the site. Volunteers were also trained on the archaeological excavations principals in Qatar and principals of archaeological documentation.
Ali Al Kubaisi, Chief Archelogy Officer at Qatar Museums said:
I would like to personally thank all of the young and talented volunteers for their hard work and dedication to this project, one of huge importance to Qatar Museums and our country as a whole. It is wonderful to see that the volunteers embraced this unique opportunity and learned not only technical skills of conservation and archaeology in Qatar; but also learnt from each other and formed strong bonds of friendship in this living cultural exchange programme.’
‘Qatar is a country with a proud and rich heritage stretching back over thousands of years, and preserving this history for our future generations is vital. Every volunteer should be extremely proud to have played a significant part in protecting and preserving this spectacular World Heritage Site.’
During the project, volunteers fully immersed themselves in learning about the day-to-day life in a World Heritage property. They took part in a number of workshops and conservation activities organised in conjunction with QM, the Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) and UNESCO, all designed to protect and preserve the Al Zubarah heritage site. This included how to dismantle weak parts of buildings, how to conserve excavated areas of the site and how to apply and remove plaster.
Al Zubarah is a historical coastal town, situated approximately 100 km north-west of Doha. Founded in the mid-18th century, the town developed into a centre of pearling and international trade and rose to become the country’s largest and most important settlement.
Now it’s Qatar’s largest heritage site, with its impressive city wall, ancient residential palaces and houses, markets, industrial areas and mosques. It is managed, conserved and protected by Qatar Museums, under the leadership of its Chairperson, HE Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani. The site of Al Zubarah offers a key to understanding Qatar’s cultural identity and a model to explain the history of the pearl trade – a significant factor in the development of the modern Gulf region.
The ‘Together for Heritage campaign’ is part of the World Heritage Volunteers initiative,
now in its ninth consecutive year, and seeks to mobilise and involve young people aged 18-30 and youth organisations in World Heritage preservation and promotion. Since its launch in 2008, 3500 volunteers have participated, and 219 projects have been held in 46 countries at some of the most outstanding sites in the world.
For more information, visit qm.org.qa