In any armed conflict, people suffer – not only in their persons, but also in their cultural integrity. Culture and heritage are essential components of human existence. Since the First World War, organised efforts have been undertaking to protect cultural heritage in times of war and then to recover as much as possible of its values as soon as the arms fall silent: not for the sake of the places, the things themselves, but for the sake of the people who have a deep cultural need for the reassurance and affirmation that can be gained from a familiar and cherished built environment and its historic landmarks.
Post-conflict recovery of places affected by war and destruction has taken many shapes during the last century, a century afflicted by many wars all over the world. Through learning from experiences and discussing new ideas we can contribute to the task of rebuilding the architectural and social environment of places damaged by war and of communities whose existence were brutally interrupted.
The conference and its approaches should be seen in context with other activities of the two universities involved. With financial support from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and academic input from BTU, Helwan University is training a number of students from war-afflicted countries in the field of post-conflict recovery, as part of the new National Track of our Joint Master Programme, ‛Heritage Conservation and Site Management‘. At the same time, a growing number of international doctoral students, mostly based at BTU and supported by scholarships from the Gerda Henkel Foundation and from BTU itself, are conducting their individual research projects on topics of Heritage and War. All these activities are linked with those of international bodies such as ICOMOS and Unesco, and BTU and Helwan University gratefully acknowledge the valuable support that has been provided by members and representatives of these bodies.
The conference took place 5 - 7 December 2016 and was hosted by Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus-Senftenberg.