In the Middle East cultural heritage is under attack: artworks, monuments and sites are destroyed as symbols of the civilizations that lived there through centuries. At the same time, fanatics are feeding the illegal trade of artworks with a lot of objects (statues, coins, vases, bas-reliefs, goldsmith’s, coins, etc.) to raise funds for their organizations.
Ethnical and religious minorities are forced with violence to escape from their homeland, where fanatics are committed to physically destroy their cultural heritage (monuments, graveyards, worship sites), according to a totalitarian view that simply does not accept diversities.
Within this social and cultural tragedy, it’s worth quoting the loss of skilled human capital, both in terms of governance élites (civil servants, professors, entrepreneurs) and of students who are forced to stop their training paths: this will lead to the progressive loss of recovery capability in the post-conflict phase. This issue has also been recently highlighted by the Commission for Cultural Affairs of the European Parliament.
In order to react to the above mentioned threat to cultural heritage, an initiative called X-Team is being launched by the Politecnico di Torino, SiTI (a no-profit research organization created by the Politecnico di Torino and Compagnia di San Paolo, one of the main bank Foundations in Italy), University Ca’ Foscari, IUAV and CORILA (a public research body in Venice).
"X" stands for International Cultural Heritage Security (ICHS), that in Italian is pronounced as X. The X-Team will be hosted in a recently refurbished building in Bosco Marengo (North-Western Italy), that is known as International Centre for the Security of Cultural Heritage.
The X-Teams objectives are the following:
Participants in the course will be chosen among researchers and students coming from the Countries at war (with special focus on young men and women who were forced to stop their training paths) and of civil servants who operated in the public systems of Culture.
They will be also selected among refugees, and will be hosted in Italy in Bosco Marengo, Torino and Venice for a training time of about 8 months.
In fact, it is extremely urgent to design a series of initiatives capable to help refugees who believe in their Countries’ future to come back home with dignity and re-build those ethnical and religious mix at the base of a vision of tolerance and peaceful coexistence.
X-Team’s organization will be based on a Coordination Unit in Italy and on a series of Satellite Centres outside the EU. A Satellite Centre is a new company otside the EU, acting for the sake of capacity building in the field of cultural heritage, stimulating new jobs and entrepreneurship at local level.