Heritage and Development I

Prof. Dr. Heather Stoddard delivers paper at Humboldt University Dec. 5Humboldt University's main building on Berlin's Unter Den Linden boulevard, where the conference's second day was heldFirst Day of the Conference at Berlin University of TechnologyExhibition 'Tibet with Tibetan Eyes' by LalaInternational Conference in Berlin on Preservation of Himalayan Culture 4.-5.12. 2007

CULTURAL HERITAGE AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT OF HISTORICAL CITIES IN ASIA - Safeguarding traditions & ancient knowledge to promote development. This was the motto of a project planned and carried out by the two NGOs ASIA Onlus (Rome) and Tibet Heritage Fund (Berlin). Both organizations have been working for over a decade on development projects in Tibet that include the preservation of Tibet's unique cultural heritage. With support from the EU, a program to investigate the issues of sustainable preservation of the heritage of Tibet seeks to evaluate adequate methodologies to preserve aspects such as Tibet’s ancient architecture, its traditional cities and its monastic art was launched. Activities include seminars and exhibitions in Italy and Germany, and publications of the results.

In June 18 - 22 2007, three seminars were held in Napoli,Torino and Roma, addressing the same topic. The papers presented gave an overview of Buddhist and Tibetan architecture in the region (Napoli); of the need for and examples of sustainable interventions in architectural design, architectural conservation, urban planning and financial investment in the region (Torino); and examples of successful interventions in Buddhist wall-painting conservation (Roma).

To bring these topics to a conclusion, THF and two German universities have organized an international conference in Berlin from December 4-5 2007. This was designed to create a forum to discuss and define parameters and strategies for intervention in the Himalayan areas, addressed to experts working in the fields, policy makers, donor institutions and the general public. More important, it was also meant to link different people working in Himalayan areas with different expertise, to create more holistic project approaches. The first day, held at University of Technology, dealt with themes related to architecture and planning, and included presentations on Lhasa, Ladakh, sustainable new architecture in Burkina Faso and resettlements in Qinghai. The second day, held at Humboldt University, dealt with the relation between Tibetan material culture and development, with a particular emphasis on wall-painting conservation. Speakers included architect Prof. Dr. Peter Herrle from TU Berlin, who regularly advises German development institutions on urban sustainability; Aga-Khan-Award recipient Francis Kere; the eminent Tibetan art historians Heather Stoddard and Erberto Lo Bue, mural conservation experts Anca Nicolaescu and Luigi Fieni, and THF and ASIA representatives.
In parallel, there was an exhibition made by THF about Tibetan architecture on show, entitled: Exploding City Lhasa: Urban Development on the Roof of the World, shown in the foyer of the Main Building, Humboldt University, Unter den Linden 6, Berlin.
The conference abstracts are available for download, and we aim to publish the collected papers here soon.

Copyright, Tibet Heritage Fund