Prince Claus Fond for Cultural Development – Cultural Emergency Response (CER)
The Prince Claus Fund, founded 1996, aims at increasing cultural awareness and to promote exchange between culture and development. The Prince Claus Fund initiates and supports artistic and intellectual quality, creates platforms for debate and stimulates creative processes and artistic productions. The Prince Claus Fund is a platform for intercultural exchange. It works jointly with individuals and organisations mainly in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Carribean on the realisation of activities and publications reflecting a contemporary approach to the themes of culture and development.
Restaurieren einer Buddhastatue im Nationalmuseum in
© Omara Khan Massoudi
The Prince Claus Awards give one principal and additional awards. In 2004 one of this Awards got Omara Khan Massoudi/Afghanistan for saving some of the world's finest cultural treasures. When the Kabul Museum was bombed and looted in 1993, he inspired other members of staff to assist him in ongoing evasive action to safeguard whatever was possible and to assess and record the damage.
Durch Kriegseinwirkung zerstört: Fragmente einer Statue im
Nationalmuseum in Kabul
© Omara Khan Massoudi
Cultural Emergency Response (CER) was founded on 26 September 2003 by the Prince Claus Fund and the International Committee of the Blue Shield. Conflicts and natural disasters don't just jeopardise human life, but threaten contemporary and historical cultural heritage. When cultural heritage is destroyed people suffer a fundamental loss, one that is often not sufficiently recognised. Through a timely response, CER hopes to focus attention on cultural emergencies and contribute to saving cultural heritage. CER aims to act as a 'trigger', and encourage others to become involved in further relief efforts. CER has already provided cultural relief in Baghdad (Iraq), Bam (Iran) and Mestassa (Morocco):
- CER gave the library of the University of Baghdad a contribution of 25000 € to refurbish the reading room at the university site in Al-Waziriye. Following the collapse of Saddam's regime in April 2003 the library was looted and burned. Limited facilities have once more been available to the students since the autumn of 2004.
- On 26 December 2003 the town of Bam in southern Iran was badly hit by an earthquake. The Iranian Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization has a documentation centre on the town's ancient citadel, built more than 2000 years ago. CER donated 25000 € to help towards restoring the archives; the study of documents also serves as a basis for restoration and rebuilding.
- CER is facilitating the reopening of the National Gallery of Jamaica in Kingston that suffered considerable water damage in the wake of Hurricane Ivan. 15660 € will go towards replacing and repairing carpeting and parquet flooring. Work has begun and the National Gallery was able to welcome the first visitors to the opening of the local art biennial on 12 December 2004.
- CER contributed a donation of 1200 € for the repair of the roof of the Greek Orthodox Church of Saint Demethros in Nablus that covers an unusual wooden ceiling. The roof was damaged as a result of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
- The earthquake that struck North Morocco on 24 February 2005 caused considerable damage to the Mestassa mosque. The building, which is also used as a community centre and school, dates from the Merinides era (1244-1465) and is a vernacular version of the architectural style of this Berber dynasty. The 25000 €donated by CER is being spent on reinforcing the mosque and on basic restoration; CER hopes to find other partners to help towards the complete restoration of the mosque.