Dhakira tries to always extend the outreach of its research and curriculum through collaborations, partnerships, and events. With different collaborations, the programming of Dhakira is very diverse and nurtured by its participants and connection with New York University Abu Dhabi. On this page, you can find some details on past programs and if you want a more in-depth look at the partnership with the NYUAD Institute, take a look here.


Partnership with Our World Heritage initiative

The partnership with Our World Heritage lasted for all 2021 on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the UNESCO World Heritage Convention.

Our World Heritage is a global initiative by citizens and professionals who share concerns over the protection and conservation of World Heritage and who want to mobilize to renew and reinforce heritage protection in a globally relevant and effective manner. The project coincides with the upcoming 50th anniversary of the 1972 UNESCO World Heritage Convention.

Throughout 2021 the Our World Heritage initiative project teams examined the status quo the Convention and made recommendations for an equitable, inclusive and relevant approach to the implementation of the Convention in the coming 50 years. This was done through an analysis of 12 themes impacting on the efficacy of the Convention and the accessibility of World Heritage. The themes ranged from the use of information technology in the promotion of access to World Heritage Sites, through tourism, sustainability, climate change and conflict. At the core of the initiative were the themes of proposing new approaches to World Heritage and opening up of World Heritage identification, management, access, and decision-making to civil society. Dhakira’s focus was on these core themes, partnering on New Heritage Approaches and leading Opening up to Civil Society. These culminated in organizing public events and research outputs in June and December of 2021 respectively.

The projects were implemented in cooperation with CIE - Center for International Heritage Activities and within the framework of the global Our World Heritage initiative.

Theme 6: New Approaches

Unsustainable urban change and expansion processes, climate change, socio-environmental tensions and armed conflicts bring new challenges to our collective heritage in the 21st century. New heritage approaches must shift thinking around the protection and management of sites and practices to include discussions about why and for whom they are designated. An expert driven approach to identification and strategic management must provide space for the meaningful narratives produced by site residents and users to ensure their preservation. In the current geopolitical context, key aspects of diversity and inequality such as gender, ethnicity, race, and income must be considered. New heritage approaches should create living integrated sites within a broader landscape that inludes nature and culture, considers the tangible and intangible dimensions of heritage, fosters strategies to decolonize the notion of heritage, and (re)interpretates its values and attributes through proactive strategies of conservation. Sustainable strategies should be society facing and support the development of heritage education and social participation as instruments to enhance emancipation, citizenship, and democratization of decision-making processes. The integration of heritage conservation in planning politics and tools with a broad participatory perspective is also crucial to ensure appropriate and inclusive heritage management.

In participating in this theme, Dhakira organized four public webinars and supported multiple seminars, courses, exhibitions, and public debates aimed at building an integrated heritage conservation approach.

Heritage Categories and a Crosscutting Approach Among Conventions , June 8, 2021


  • Guo Zhan, Senior Commissioner and researcher, Department of Cultural Heritage Protection/ State Administration of Cultural Heritage (SACH)
  • Harriet Deacon, PhD Msc FRSA, Visiting Research Fellow, Coventry University

Moderated by:

  • Jonathan Sharfman

Decolonizing Heritage , June 17, 2021


  • Ciraj Rassool, South Africa
  • Robert Parthesius, the Netherlands
  • Pascall Taruvinga, South Africa

Moderated by:

  • Jonathan Sharfman

Theme 12: Opening Up to Civil Society

One of the increasingly promoted principles of UNESCO’s heritage programs is the emphasis on community participation. However, the World Heritage Convention’s governance system is centered on State Parties actions and decision-making, and UNESCO is mandated to work with state institutions to strengthen institutional building on a national level. This system limits civil society participation thereby eliminating an essential societal dynamic that plays a fundamental role in cultural and natural heritage conservation.

This theme revisited the old and new meanings of “civil society”, its participation in heritage governance and its role in strengthening democratic governance of heritage which would make the process of heritage management more participatory, consultative, and transparent. The main question that this theme addressed was: How can the decision-making system and the management of the Convention be democratized to reflect fundamental and inclusive change?

Dhakira, together with partners CIE – Center for International Heritage Activities coordinated a month of activities aimed at examining the roles of local stakeholders, NGOs, heritage managers and academics in opening up World Heritage to civil society. Dhakira organized nine events culminating in the launch of World Heritage Radio in December 2021.

Mapping Unframed Voices on World Heritage Sites, July 28, 2021


  • Isber Sabrine, NGO Heritage for Peace. Title of presentation: Arab network of Civil Society to safeguard cultural heritage
  • Nurcan Yalman, Lecturer at Nişantaşı University Istanbul, with Sinan Cana, Research assistant at Nişantaşı University Istanbul
  • Matias Lao, representing Macao Heritage Ambassadors Association (MHAA)
  • Uzman Anver, Attorney at Law and Resident Representative of Galle Fort
  • Hafiz Jamu, president of Association Mozambique Island

Moderated by:

  • Alia Yunis, New York University Abu Dhabi, Dhakira Center for Heritage Studies

Lest We Forget ,in partnership with Sol Plaatje University, September 29, 2021


  • Sibongile Masuku, SPU School of Humanities
  • Nolubabalo Tongo-Cetywayo, Author and Researcher
  • Garth Benneyworth, Facilitator
  • Thami Tebeka, SRC: Deputy Secretary

Express Workshop: Audio and Sounds in World Heritage – Using Radio in the Field, November 19, 2021


  • Jesper Buursink, a multi-disciplinary artist and radio- and podcast maker who works in many worlds
  • Elizabeth Guerrero, a researcher, radio and sound maker, based in Mexico City and Amsterdam

Global Oceans - Mapping Maritime Connections , November 24, 2021


  • Filipe Castro


  • Sahid Vawda
  • Caesar Bita
  • Rasika Muthucumarana
  • Felix Hammod Beck

Thinking beyond the research: What is the role of Academia in the world of heritage and civil society?, November 29, 2021


  • Harriet Deacon, Consultant, intangible heritage and intellectual property law, Coventry University
  • Rose Boswell, PhD Anthropology, NRF-DSI Research Chair in Ocean Cultures and Heritage, Nelson Mandela University
  • Manaal Saadaat & NiccolòAcram Cappelleto, Dhakira Center for Heritage Studies, NYUAD

Moderated by:

  • Verónica Mateus Pereira, CIE – Centre for International Heritage Activities; Dhakira Center for Heritage Studies NYUAD

Understanding the Insights of Civil Society – Possible Solutions for Sustainable Heritage Futures,December 02, 2021

Between Politics, Management and Communities: Experiences from the Field, December 06, 2021

In December, the “Opening up to Civil Society” team invites participants from the previous themes to reflect on the role of civil society in ensuring the sustainability of heritage for the coming 50 years, based on their draft recommendations and reports.

Other Stories, Oral Histories of the Sultanahmet Archaeological Park: An Alternative Perception of a UNESCO World Heritage Site, December 13, 2021

Link to FB Live:


  • Nurcan Yalman, Archaeologist, Istanbul-Nişantaşı University, Dept of History; research fellow in the “Centre for International Heritage Activities (CIE)”; member of the board of trustees in the NGO The Cultural Awareness Foundation in Istanbul; Executive board member of European Association of Archaeology and Vice President (2013-2016)


Dialogues with the Past: Documenting Heritage in the UAE

Heritage and national identity are closely connected. Throughout the past 45 years, the UAE has gone through very rapid changes and development. All the while, it has been very much engaged in bridging its past with its present and future. This workshop discusses both established documentation systems and the role of new high-tech methods, such as 3D scanning, drones, visualization techniques, and new interactive media, in order to evaluate how to best continue in the documentation and presentation of heritage for scholarly and wider audiences. Leading international academics, heritage managers, architects, curators, archaeologists, and artists working in the UAE come together to discuss their role in heritage recording and preservation. (REVISION - LISA) Heritage and national identity are closely connected. Throughout the past 45 years, the UAE has gone through very rapid changes and development. All the while, it has been very much engaged in bridging its past with its present and future. This workshop will discuss both established documentation systems and the role of new high tech methods, such as 3D scanning, drones, visualization techniques and new interactive media to see how best to continue in the documentation and presentation of heritage for scholarly and wider audiences. Speakers and participants include those working in the UAE on the documentation and preservation of tangible heritage and intangible heritage.

Workshop, October 4-5, 2016

Convened by

  • Robert Parthesius, Director of CIE, Centre for International Heritage Activities; Visiting Professor of Heritage and Museum Studies, NYUAD


Connected Through Heritage: Developing Regional Networks for Heritage and Museum Studies

This workshop brings together both scholars and heritage professionals from multiple disciplines and various institutional backgrounds to focus on the Gulf in the context of the wider region, connected through historical, cultural, and economical relationships. The workshop contributes to the development of a sustainable network for heritage and museum studies in the region by discussing and analyzing the existing formal and informal heritage and museum studies curricula to understand the relevant themes and mechanisms of cooperation.

Workshop, April 13-14, 2015

Convened by

  • Robert Parthesius, Director of CIE, Centre for International Heritage Activities; Visiting Professor of Heritage and Museum Studies, NYUAD
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