Events during April colloquium on global heritage invite public to learn and engage

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As presidents and faculty from 30 universities worldwide convene next month at Yale for the eighth Global Colloquium of University Presidents (UNGC), there will be numerous related events open to members of the Yale community and the public from April 6 to 15. Information about the colloquium and public events can be found online here: http://ungc.yale.edu/.

The colloquium and related public events come as the preservation of cultural heritage gains recognition as global priority, with a movement powered by UNESCO to “#unite4heritage.”  As Irina Bokova, director general of UNESCO, wrote in a 2012 op-ed, “The fact is, protecting culture is protecting people — it is about protecting their way of life and providing them with essential resources.”

Underscoring the importance of public engagement, Don Filer, executive director of Yale’s Office of International Affairs (OIA), noted recently, “President Salovey early on told the organizers that he wants this to be an opportunity for everyone on campus and members of the public to learn more and consider the roles they can play in moving forward the preservation of cultural heritage.”

The public events will include talks by Yale alumni, such as archaeologist Sarah Parcak, winner of the 2016 TED Prize, on “The Future of Archaeology: Space-based Approaches to Ancient Landscapes” on April 6; Yale faculty, such as Jason Lyall on “How Antiquities Fuel Modern Conflict” on April 12; and visiting leaders in the field, such as Richard Kurin, acting provost and under secretary at the Smithsonian Institution on “Saving Culture in Disaster.”

Yale’s Institute for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage (IPCH) will host a series of workshops and panel discussions open to the public around the colloquium, including a discussion on “Cultural Diversity and Heritage Preservation” on Monday, April 11. Organizers note that this discussion “aims to formulate an expansive and inclusive concept of cultural heritage, and investigate various modes of preservation. Panelists will cover themes including the purpose and utility of memory, the balance between the global and local, and the relevance of preserving physical objects, and investigates the question: What gets saved, where, and who decides?”

Many of the Yale museums and galleries will hold special programs, and the growing Yale West Campus will host a series of open houses, with tours to highlight the IPCH, the Collections Study Center, the University Library Center for Preservation & Conservation, and other resources.

“Yale and our hometown, New Haven, offer so much for community residents and visitors from near and far to connect with cultural heritage, to learn about themselves, and to learn the stories of others,” says Nancy Franco, director of the Yale Visitor Center, who is helping to organize tours of the campus and community cultural heritage resources open to the public year-round. “New Haven and the Yale campus are veritable encyclopedias of inspiration, and we hope to encourage people to engage with the treasures all around us, including the Grove Street Cemetery, the New Haven Museum, and the many resources of Yale,” she said.

To learn more about the talks, tours, and exhibitions will be open to the public before, during, and after the colloquium, visit the UNGC website: http://ungc.yale.edu/. Information on events will be added and updated in the coming weeks, and readers are encouraged to return to the website as the colloquium approaches for the latest details.

Readers can join the conversation on social media about the preservation of cultural heritage by using the hashtag #unite4heritage. Watch YaleNews for more stories on the colloquium, related public events, and the ways in which Yale faculty, students, staff, alumni, museums, libraries, schools, and departments are involved.

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