A webinar from the Royal Society for Asian Affairs - Jonathan Rider, Daniel Skillings, Flore de Taisne
A panel discussion with Jonathan Rider, Daniel Skillings and Flore de Taisne.
Culture has the singular capacity to unite and divide communities. The panel will explore the important role in that heritage can play in strengthening societies and rebuilding economies after conflicts, drawing on their experiences in Afghanistan, Indonesia, Syria and Jordan.
Across the Middle East and South-Central Asia protracted conflicts have resulted in the loss of human life, population displacement, economic turmoil and political and social unrest and acts of ‘cultural terrorism’ have become familiar over the last two decades. The destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas in Afghanistan, of the Temple of Bel in Syria and of 40,000 ancient islamic manuscripts in Timbuktu are only the most notorious.
Behind these sensational acts, lies a steady and largely un-noticed erosion of intangible cultural heritage - traditional crafts, artisanal industries, folk stories and local traditions. Efforts to stabilise conflict and post-conflict countries rightly focus first on humanitarian assistance, followed by infrastructure, education, healthcare and economic recovery needs. Culture is often overlooked and poorly funded, but it can play a key role in reconciliation and economic recovery.