Africa and Middle East
Libyan Arab Jamahiriya
Republic of Mali
Syrian Arab Republic
The OWHC is growing rapidly owing especially to its five regional secretariats, two of which are already operational (Bergen for Northwest Europe, Budapest for Eastern and Central Europe, and Guanajuato for Latin America). Two other regional secretariats - Cordoba for Southern Europe / Mediterranean, and Tunis for North Africa and Middle East - have just been created by a resolution adopted and approved by the General Assembly of the OWHC in Puebla, Mexico, in September 2001.
The regional secretariats add a lot of dynamism to the OWHC. They facilitate exchanges between the cities of the same region that share the same culture and the same language.
Out of the 545 cultural cites registered on the world heritage list set up by UNESCO, the twelve Arab countries that have signed the world heritage convention total 52 sites, including some twenty historic cities.
The constitution of a region-wide network of cities could constitute an opportunity for our cities to set up cooperation programs, promote exchange of expertise and experience, and position themselves as credible partners for an insightful research of funding for the promotion and safeguarding of our heritage and also to support the candidacy of other cities with the UNESCO.
The cities appealed to are: Algiers and Gardaia (Algeria), Fez, Marrackech, Meknès, Tétouan and Essaouira (Morocco), Cairo (Egypt), Ghadamès (Libya), Tunis, Sousse, Kairouan and Monastir (as an observer member) (Tunisia), Ouadane, Chinguetti, Tichitt and Oualata (Mauritania), Alep and Damas (Syria), Shibam, San'a' and Zabid (Yemen), and East Jerusalem.
The seat of the Regional Secretariat for North Africa and Middle East is based in the city of Tunis at the headquarters of the Tunis Association de Sauvegarde de la Médina (ASM) (information below), and the regional coordinator is the Director General of the ASM, Ms. Sémia AKROUT-YAÏCHE.
Tunis is proud and thankful to be the seat of this new Regional Secretariat for North Africa and Middle East, whose goal will be to promote the region's heritage, by strengthening solidarity among the cities.
The entire region shares a common history, therefore the same spatial organization principles, based on the Arab-Muslim model. Islamic urban planning is concentrated on the interior/exterior relation.
All the cities of the region also speak the same language, thus facilitating collaboration and exchange of experience. A global strategy will make it possible to resolve more rapidly problems such as overdensification or ruralization, which threaten the delicate socioeconomic balance.
We are responsible for the legacy that was handed down by past generations. It is our duty to preserve it, promote it, and have it recognized by the global community. For the startup of our secretariat, we will certainly benefit from the experience of the general secretariats that preceded us. A regional meeting scheduled for May 2003 will allow us to place the regional secretariat on sound footing, and to set up a program of action.
Furthermore, the ASM and the Tahar Haddad Cultural Club will organize, under the aegis of the Municipality of Tunis, an "Heritage and Youth" day that will take place on Monday, November 4, with, on the program, conferences on the world heritage, which will be followed by workshops.
Young participants (between the ages of 18 and 20) who are very interested in heritage will have to design a cultural activities project (popular and media) that will take place over one year, showing creative and imaginative talents (with all types of supporting sources of inspiration) in order to realize education or public awareness activities concerning heritage. Prizes will be awarded to the best three projects (1st prize: participation in the youth forum of the World Heritage Cities at the OWHC General Assembly and Symposium (September 2003 in Rhodes, in Greece) - other prizes: sets of books on heritage, realization of the projects selected, choice of the founding member of the "Heritage and Youth" Club.
For more information, please contact :
Ms. Sémia Akrout
24, rue du Tribunal
1006 Bab Souika
Tel: (216) 71 560.896/563.618
Fax: (216) 71 560.965