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Rebuilding What Was Destroyed: How to Protect Scientific and Cultural Heritage and Communities in Conflict Zones

Paris, France

Monday, September 26, 2022 | 6:30pm
Auditorium du Monde
67 Avenue Pierre Mendès-France
75013 Paris

Free event - Registration required

On September 26, 2022, the French Emergency Hosting Program for Scientists and Artists in Exile (PAUSE), in partnership with Le Monde, is organizing a public event on the protection of scientific, cultural and artistic heritage and communities in conflict zones, in the presence of Ukrainian, Afghan, and Iraqi researchers and artists in exile. This event also aims to address why and how, in the aftermath of armed conflict, culture, science and the arts, artists and scientists, constitute a motor for reconstruction, dialogue and reconciliation.

The number of people forced to flee their countries due to conflict, violence, human rights violations or persecution has exceeded 100 million as of May 2022, according to the latest data from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). This figure, which has been steadily increasing over the past decade, has further increased in the first months of 2022, particularly due to the millions of people displaced from Ukraine as a result of the Russian invasion. 

Cultural heritage is also increasingly not only the collateral damage of conflict situations, large-scale pillage and trafficking, but has also become the target of systematic and deliberate attacks by obscurantist groups for ideological motives. 

Countries that had well-established scientific communities and dynamic research ecosystems have seen these dismantled by conflict and violence. Some countries are facing the almost complete eradication of the scientific capacity they were building. 

Because they express cultural identity and put forward new ideas, artists are also the first to be targeted in countries affected by war or political, ethnic or religious persecution.


6:30pm | Panel: Protect the scientific and cultural heritage and communities to rebuild peace

  • Laura Lohéac • Director of the French Emergency Hosting Program for Scientists and Artists in Exile (PAUSE) - Collège de France
  • Lazare Eloundou Assomo • Director of the UNESCO World Heritage Centre (tbc)
  • Valéry Freland • Director of the International alliance for the protection of heritage in conflict areas (ALIPH)
  • Julie Trébault • Director of Artists at Risk Connection
  • Roya Heydari • Afghan photographer and filmmaker
  • Iryna Koval-Fuchylo • Ukrainian art historian
  • Omar Mohammed • Iraqi historian

Moderated by Emmanuel Davidenkoff • Editor in chief, in charge of events and editorial partnerships at Le Monde

8:00pm | Presentation of the exhibition "Standing for freedom" 

  • Buket Türkmen • Professor of Sociology


Laura Lohéac, Director of the French Emergency Hosting Program for Scientists and Artists in Exile (PAUSE) - Collège de France

Laura Lohéac has been the Executive Director of the PAUSE Program, at the Collège de France, since May 2017, after having been responsible for international solidarity actions in the cabinet of the Secretary of State for Higher Education and Research. She is also President of the Marianne Association for Human Rights Defenders created in December 2021. As specialist in international and strategic issues, she previously held various positions in the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Defense as well as in the General Secretariat for Defense and National Security.

Lazare Eloundou Assomo, Director of the UNESCO World Heritage Centre

Lazare Eloundou Assomo joined UNESCO in 2003 in the Africa Central World Heritage Unit, where he contributed to the creation of the African World Heritage Fund and the development of the World Heritage Earthen Architecture Programme (WHEAP). From 2008 to 2013, he was Chief of the Africa Unit of the World Heritage Centre. During this period he coordinated several restoration projects in Mozambique, Uganda and Mali. In 2013, he joined the UNESCO office in Bamako, where he became Director in 2014. While the country was hit by a violent armed conflict, he was in charge of the protection of Malian cultural heritage. He led the reconstruction of the mausoleums of Timbuktu and the safeguarding of ancient manuscripts. In 2018, he became Director of "Culture and Emergencies". In this position, he coordinated emergency responses to heritage affected by conflicts and disasters and the restitution of cultural property

Valéry Freland, Director of the International alliance for the protection of heritage in conflict areas (ALIPH)

Valéry Freland is a French diplomat. He was Diplomatic Advisor to the French Minister of Culture and Communication, Frédéric Mitterrand (2009-2010), then Counselor for Cooperation and Cultural Action at the French Embassy in Tunis (2010-2013), and finally Deputy Director of Cultural, Academic and Research Cooperation at the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2013-2015). Before joining ALIPH, Valéry Freland was Consul General of France in Boston (USA - 2015-2018). Created in 2017, Aliph's mission is to mitigate the risks of destruction of heritage in the event of war and to ensure the security of artworks.

Julie Trébault, Director of Artists at Risk Connection

Julie Trébault is the director of the Artists at Risk Connection. Prior to joining PEN America, she was the Director of Public Programs at the Museum of the City of New York and the Center for Architecture. Prior to moving to New York, she worked at the National Museum of Ethnology in the Netherlands, where she established a network of 116 museums. From 2004 to 2007, she was responsible for higher education and academic events at the Musée du quai Branly (Paris).

Roya Heydari, Photographer and Filmmaker

Born in 1995 in Firoz Koh, Afghanistan, Roya Heydari is a photographer and filmmaker. She contributes to international publications (Business Insider, Al Jazeera, The Middle East Eye, TRT World), works with international organizations (UNHCR, GIZ, WHO, MSI, Save the Children) and appears in numerous documentaries and feature films. With the desire to make Afghan women living in rural areas visible, she travelled across Afghanistan at the risk of her life to film and photograph them and tell their stories. She arrived in France in 2021 after the fall of Kabul, and was hosted in the framework of the PAUSE program.

Iryna Koval-Fuchylo, Art historian

Since 2002, Iryna Koval-Fuchylo has been working at the Maksym Rylsky Institute of Art History, Folklore and Ethnology of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine in Kiev. Author of more than 200 scientific publications published in 10 countries, her research interests include oral history of forced relocations, oral history of 20th century Ukraine, traditional Slavic culture, including rituals, song culture, as well as the history of Ukrainian folklore. She has participated in numerous expeditions to different regions of Ukraine and in many international scientific conferences. Exiled in France since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, she is hosted by the PAUSE program at Sorbonne University.

Omar Mohammed, Historian

Omar Mohammed is an historian from Mosul, known until recently only as the anonymous blogger "Mosul Eye." Through Mosul Eye, Omar sought to inform the world about life under the Islamic State in his city. Hosted in 2017 at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales as part of the PAUSE program, he now teaches Middle Eastern history and cultural heritage diplomacy at the Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris. He now focuses on promoting social initiatives for the people of Mosul, including the international effort to restock the central library of Mosul University. At the intersection of media, academia, and civil society, Omar hopes to develop new networks of collaboration and innovation in humanitarian action.

Buket Türkmen, Professor of Sociology

A lecturer in sociology at the University of Galatasaray from 1997 to 2018, Buket Türkmen taught at the University of Bordeaux and was a visiting scholar at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard University. She holds a PhD from the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris and is currently a research fellow at the Centre Émile Durkheim in Bordeaux and at the French Institute of Anatolian Studies in Istanbul. She has contributed to numerous comparative research projects while conducting work on public space, young Islamists, secularism, women activists, Islamic flirtation, new social and identity movements. She co-edited the book Laïcités et religiosités : Intégration ou exclusion ? (Harmattan, 2010).

Photo Exhibition

Le Monde will host the exhibition "Standing for freedom" at the newspaper's forecourt.

This project, between art and scientific research, was initiated by the academic Pascale Laborier and the photographer PierreJérôme Adjedj. 51 portraits of researchers in exile were made as part of the RESTRICA project (Regards sur les exils scientifiques contraints d'hier et d'aujourd'hui).

Through the use of transparency, the portraits trace the history of the exiled persons: country of origin, host country, field of research and personal history.

Showing on Monday, September 26, from 6:00pm


Metro: Gare D'Austerlitz (Line 5, 10, and RER C)
Bus: Lines 24, 61, 63, 89, and 215
Parking: Indigo Paris Cité De La Mode - Austerlitz, 29 Quai D'Austerlitz, 75013 Paris

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