The official Opening of the International Conference “Opportunities for Heritage” takes place at GUtech University

Saturday, 24 February 2024, marked the official opening of the international conference, “Opportunities for Heritage”, taking place at the German University of Technology in Oman, in Muscat, Sultanate of Oman. The conference, held under the patronage of His Excellency Salim Al Mahrouqi, Minister of Heritage and Tourism, will continue until 27 February 2024.

The UNESCO chair for World Heritage and Sustainable Tourism Management in the Arab Region, in collaboration with the Arab Regional Centre for World Heritage (ARC-WH), welcomed scholars, participants, speakers and guests from over 20 countries worldwide. The event is organized in partnership with the Ministry of Heritage and Tourism of the Sultanate of Oman and the Oman National Commission for Education, Culture and Science.

The opening ceremony was inaugurated by Professor Dr Michael Braun, Rector of the German University of Technology in Oman, followed by a welcoming speech by His Excellency Ibrahim bin Saied Al Kharusi, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Heritage and Tourism for Heritage, Mrs. Amna Al Balushi, Secertary General of the Oman National Commission for Education, Culture and Science from the Ministry of Education. Shaikh Ebrahim bin Hamoud Al-Khalifa, Acting Director of the Arab Regional Centre for World Heritage, emphasized that the conference plays a role in exploring the connections between heritage preservation and management, tourism, and sustainable growth, especially during a time when heritage faces many challenges.

Professor Heba Aziz, UNESCO Chair Professor and President of the Conference, addressed the guests and highlighted the importance of innovative approaches in preserving and promoting cultural and natural heritage. Additionally, the conference encourages creative approaches to heritage conservation and sustainable development, emphasizing the significance of its preservation.

Her Excellency Shaikha Mai bint Mohamed Al-Khalifa, Founder and President of the Shaikh Ebrahim bin Mohammed Al-Khalifa Centre for Culture and Research, stressed in her keynote address, on the relationship between culture and identity, and how culture acts as a catalyst in shaping the dynamics of people and communities.

The opening ceremony concluded with an exhibition ceremony and gala dinner, generously hosted by the Ministry of Heritage and Tourism, Sultanate of Oman.

The four-day conference will focus on examining the opportunities that lie at the intersection of heritage conservation and sustainable development. With a keen focus on the transformative power of technology and innovative solutions, its aims to pave the way for coexistence and fruitful collaboration across these domains through engaging sessions and dynamic dialogues.

The conference is generously supported by its strategic partners, Bait Al Zubair, ALIPH Foundation, the Oman Tourism Development Company (OMRAN), and Dhofar Tourism Company. The conference’s collaborative partners include Oman Across Ages Museum, Hochschule Konstanz University of Applied Sciences in Germany, Fondazione Santagata for the Economics of Culture and the Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation.

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