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26 Jul 2023

The new Alliance for Cultural Heritage in Asia

The Alliance for Cultural Heritage in Asia, established by China earlier this year, is conceived as a platform for fostering cross-regional international cooperation, dialogue, and intergovernmental aid. In an article for The Diplomat professor Tim Winter explores what this means for heritage in the region. 

As Winter explains: 

The restoration and preservation of buildings, artifacts, landscapes, and historic cities is often described as a technical, scientific process. Dig a bit deeper, though, and the cultural and political dimensions of this multi-billion dollar sector soon reveal themselves.

As this industry evolved in the modern era, European institutions and experts created the standards and norms that continue to guide international policy today. But in recent decades, the pendulum has begun to swing toward Asia.

The choice of Xi’an [China] as the location for founding the Alliance clearly signals the importance of the Silk Road narrative in all this. The Silk Road acts as a symbolically potent architecture for connecting both pasts and futures, and cities, countries, and institutions into networks of cooperation. How this matrix of cooperation will be developed and built will be crucial. Conserving buildings and museum artifacts is one thing, but many more issues now engulf cultural heritage, particularly in Asia.

Read the full article