Joumana El Zein Khoury

“New ways to safeguard heritage and keep it alive"

Joumana El Zein Khoury is director of the Prins Claus Fund for Culture & Development. She will give a speech at the 2and3D event about the importance of preserving cultural heritage. “We’re in very unstable times”, she says. “But I believe – and the Prince Claus Fund’s 20+ years’ experience verifies my belief – that culture can open minds and challenge the status quo. That’s why it’s so important for cultural organizations to join forces in solidarity. And why we’re so happy to take part in this conference with the Rijksmuseum.”

The Prins Claus Fund for Culture & Development supports culture under pressure. Joumana El Zein Khoury: “That means we support people from all disciplines in challenging circumstances. For me personally it’s exciting and a privilege to bring creative people together. To be part of a global network of people who believe the power of culture is incredibly powerful.”

The 2and3D event is all about digitizing. “Through our Cultural Emergency Response program, the Prins Claus Fund for Culture & Development works to preserve cultural heritage in various ways. We offer quick funding in emergency situations to rescue cultural heritage under threat. We work with local people and help train heritage rescuers. Now we’re establishing regional hubs that have the expertise and tools to anticipate and deal with disasters. Digital techniques are an important part of the whole package. We’ve done many collaborations on heritage digitization projects: like working with TEFAF Maastricht and DRIK Picture Library to digitize thousands of images of the liberation war in Bangladesh taken by one of Bangladesh’s most renowned photographers.

As the technology changes, we’re excited to be part of the global effort to find new ways to safeguard heritage and keep it alive, with and for the communities who treasure it. Collaborating with other organizations is key here.”

Joumana El Zein Khoury has lived in Paris for much of her life. The recent fire in Notre Dame affected her personally. “As a building, it symbolizes many things to people: complex history, faith, the extraordinary craftsmanship of innumerable untold artists, breath-taking beauty expressed through architecture. Notre Dame made headlines, but around the world irreplaceable heritage is being lost daily with little notice. That’s why the Prins Claus Fund for Culture & Development is working so hard to draw attention to the issue, and why we are excited to attend this conference with so many people committed to saving heritage for future generations.”