Dr Mariët Westermann is vice chancellor of New York University Abu Dhabi. A widely published author and curator of Netherlandish art, she is currently researching the garden of Eden and the human imagination. She earned a BA at Williams College and a PhD at the Institute of Fine Arts. Westermann serves on the boards of ALIPH (International Alliance for the Protection of Heritage in Conflict Areas), the Educational Testing Service, and the Rijksmuseum, and chairs the Scholar Rescue Fund.
What Is Cultural Heritage Protection Today and Why Does it Matter?
In the 21st century, the destruction of cultural heritage has become a shockingly familiar topic of news reports, documentaries, and YouTube clickbait. The new visibility of these acts has the positive effect of bringing many new players into the collective task of cultural heritage protection. In this talk, we will try to discern what cultural heritage is, why its protection matters for our present and future, and how the field of cultural heritage protection has grown, diversified, and strengthened in recent years. ALIPH, the International Alliance for the Protection of Heritage in Conflict Areas in which Kuwait is an important partner, will serve as a case study for the rise of new bulwarks against attacks on the share heritage of humanity.