NYUAD Institute Talk Series

Dhakira organises in partnership with the NYUAD Institute at New York University Abu Dhabi a series of talks around topics of heritage, memory, science, and everything related.

Series: Heritage and Memory

Asmarina: Voices and Images of a Postcolonial Heritage, May 19, 2022

In contrast to media narratives that portray African immigration to Italy as a recent phenomenon, Asmarina offers another vision of the African diaspora in Italy, one that demonstrates the long-standing presence of Eritrean and Ethiopian communities, as well as their contributions to the development of Italian postwar national identity. Asmarina is also a study of contemporary Italy, currently dealing with a rise in xenophobic attacks against African migrants, ongoing migrant catastrophes in the Mediterranean, and the struggle of second-generation Italians of African descent to gain full citizenship rights.


  • Alan Maglio & Medhin Paolos, Film Directors

Sites of Suffering and Trauma: What to Remember and What to Forget , March 7, 2022

This conversation explores how communities connect with places of suffering, like former prisons that have been turned into museums—specifically Esma, the former clandestine center of Detention, Torture, and Extermination under Argentina’s Junta, and Robben Island, South Africa’s detention center for anti-Apartheid activists, including Nelson Mandela. How does this connection impact the development of local and international narratives? How does memory interlink with the social-economic uses of heritage in places of trauma? And what does this do to the meaning of the site for the community?


  • Alejandra Naftal, Executive Director of ESMA Museum and Site of Memory, Argentina
  • Andre Odendall, Founding CEO, Robben Island Museum; Writer in Residence and Honorary Professor in History and Heritage Studies, University of the Western Cape, South Africa
  • Ihab Saloul, Research Co-Director of School of Memory, Heritage and Materials Sciences, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands; and Professor of Memory and Narrative, University of Bologna, Italy

Available at https://youtu.be/cBEN5xQEe34

Heritage Futures: Oceans of Connectivity , November 2, 2021

Western paradigms of history about East and West, North and South, have enjoyed a privileged position in the global marketplace of ideas. However, the long-term rise of China and India, together with cultural discourses of regionalism in West Asia, Africa, and elsewhere, is fundamentally altering this situation. Non-Western countries are increasingly reconstructing their pasts, and their place in world history, to build their “imagined communities” of the future. This talk considers how, and to what end, complex histories are now being expeditiously formulated as platforms of heritage and museum diplomacy.


  • Tim Winter, Australian Research Council Professorial Future Fellow, University of Western Australia

Pride & Future: Cultural Heritage in Afghanistan , October 3, 2021

With the return of the Taliban to power in Afghanistan, many may remember the destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas in 2001. Since then, Afghans in the culture sector have established many cultural heritage development initiatives, which highlight the country’s diverse regional identities. Although heritage might not seem to be the highest priority during times of uncertainty, in the past 20 years it has proven to be a basic need and an effective tool for peace and development. This conversation reflects on Afghanistan’s diverse heritage and discusses a path into the future.


  • Omar Sultan, Former Deputy Minister of Culture in Afghanistan

Available at https://youtu.be/peEzj2reENY


Regional Workshop on Underwater Cultural Heritage in the Arab Region , January 30-31, 2019

Dhakira Center for Heritage Studies and the New York University Abu Dhabi Institute, together with UNESCO and ICCROM-Athar (Sharjah) co-hosts a Regional Workshop on Underwater Cultural Heritage in the Arab Region from 28 to 31 January 2019. The workshop brings together heritage professionals and national authorities to discuss the importance of underwater cultural as driver and enabler of sustainable development. Participants examine management strategies, establish cooperation mechanisms among regional stakeholders and stimulate the ratification of the UNESCO 2001 Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage.

Connected Through Heritage: Developing Regional Networks for Heritage and Museum Studies , April 13-14, 2015

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.


Memory in Place: Intangible Heritage in Physical Spaces , February 7, 2022

This workshop considers the role oral histories play at heritage sites and the challenges they pose. Looking at Qasr al Hosn and other heritage sites in the UAE, we consider the best practices for oral histories, the limitations of inherited memory, methods of collection and methods of sharing them with the public, both national and international.

In partnership with Qasr Al Hosn (DCT) and Dhakira Center for Heritage Studies at NYUAD.


  • Ayisha Khansaheb, Qasr Al Hosn
  • Dana Al Mazrouie, Salama bint Hamdan Foundation
  • Manaal Saadiyat, Dhakira Center for Heritage Studies, NYUAD
  • Salama Al Qubaisi, Dhakira Center for Heritage Studies, NYUAD
  • Saeed Al Suwaidi, Partner at Bani & Al Culture, Founder of Almawrooth Initiative

Moderated by:

  • Alia Yunis, Visiting Associate Professor of Film and Heritage Studies, NYUAD

Ancient Egypt and Social Inclusion: How to Create a Sustainable Cultural Landscape, February 21, 2019

The primary duty of a museum is to preserve heritage features of outstanding universal value for future generations. Preserving implies studying, understanding, and implementing conservation, but also communicating and engaging with the public in as many levels as possible. The connections and entangled relations between modern life and ancient artefacts move beyond the mutually exclusive differences, and often invisible links are involved. The duty of a museum is to make these links visible, communicating the value of its collections, and thus creating a sustainable cultural landscape. This talk delves into the scope of how to create a sustainable cultural landscape with consideration to preservation.


  • Christian Greco, Italian Egyptologist, Director of the Egyptian Museum of Turin

National Museums: Peace Brokers or Peace Breakers? An Afghan Case Study , December 16, 2014

In three decades of conflict and unrest, Afghanistan has lost a great amount of its irreplaceable cultural heritage, highlighting how in fragmented and polarized societies heritage can often become a target. But it is also an agent which can help populations to forge a relationship with their precious history, and maintain peaceful co-existence alongside multiple ethnic groups. This talk shares the experience gained from the joint heritage and museum projects undertaken by the Centre for International Heritage Activities in partnership with the Afghan cultural sector, and reflects upon how that experience is relevant for peace-building processes in Afghanistan.


  • Robert Parthesius, Director of CIE - Centre for International Heritage Activities; Visiting Professor of Heritage and Museum Studies, NYUAD
  • Omara Khan Massoudi, Director, National Museum of Afghanistan
  • Omar Sultan, Former Deputy Minister of Information and Culture, Islamic Republic of Afghanistan
  • Brendan Cassar, Culture Program Specialist and Former Chief, Kabul Culture Unit, UNESCO

Moderated by:

  • Susanne Annen, Former Senior Advisor, Ministry of Information and Culture, Islamic Republic of Afghanistan
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