Tribune News Network
QATAR Museums (QM) commemorated young volunteers from Qatar and around the world at a formal gala dinner on Wednesday night, following the completion of a 20-day project to conserve the historical Al Zubarah heritage site. More than 50 young volunteers along with senior QM and UNESCO representatives attended the event held in the stunning courtyard of the Museum of Islamic Art.
Speaking on the occasion, Qatar Museums' Chief Archaeology Officer Ali al Kubaisi thanked the volunteers for their time, hard work, passion and dedication in playing their part to preserve Al Zubarah, Qatar's largest heritage site, which has been added recently to the UNESCO World Heritage Site list.
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 Programme 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.
Kubaisi said:"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.