Beirut Action Plan Raises 230K for Cultural Emergency Recovery

PRESS RELEASE - 3 September 2020 Amsterdam:  When the 4 August explosion tore through Beirut, the devastating impact resonated through every aspect of Lebanese life. Heritage sites and cultural institutions, so crucial to the identity of the vibrant city, were hit hard. Together, the Prince Claus Fund, the International alliance for the protection of heritage in conflict areas (ALIPH), Gerda Henkel Foundation, and the UK’s Cultural Protection Fund managed by British Council in partnership with HM Government DCMS, have raised 230.000 euros for the Beirut Action Plan to support emergency recovery efforts on the ground.  Lees Meer in Nederlands

Preservation department courtesy Arab Image Foundation

Photo credit: Arab Image Foundation's Preservation department Courtesy Arab Image Foundation 

The Beirut Action Plan

The Prince Claus Fund’s Cultural Emergency Response programme is coordinating and managing a pooled relief fund for the Beirut Action Plan. The Beirut Action Plan is dedicated to providing urgent support for cultural heritage organisations, local cultural institutions, and individual artists affected by the Beirut explosion. So far, the Beirut Action Plan has been put toward emergency repairs and preventing further damage to cultural organisations, arts spaces and collections like the Arab Image Foundation, Ashkal Alwan, and the Beirut Art Center. Funding has been earmarked for 20 cultural heritage institutions to conduct damage assessments and first aid efforts through Blue Shield Lebanon.  The Beirut Action Plan has also contributed to the Arab Fund for Arts and Culture’s solidarity fund for individual artists affected by the blast.

Prince Claus Fund Director Joumana El Zein Khoury: “To get through this devastating period, people need culture. This is our source of identity and pride. You cannot cut out the heart of a city and let it bleed. Through these first aid to culture efforts, our supported partners are working to restore a sense of hope for the future of Beirut. Supporting them is crucial to our core belief at the Prince Claus Fund that culture is a basic need.”

Fast Action Collaborations

Rapid mobilisation was vital to quickly raising funds. After the blast, partners throughout Beirut were in direct contact with the Prince Claus Fund about urgent needs, from covering windows with shattered glass to assessing damage to collections. With information from institutions and artists, the Prince Claus Fund worked in close contact with other funding organisations and individual donors to expand its financial support.

“Together we’ve raised 230.000 euros and we’re not stopping there. We’re aiming for a total of 300.000 euros for the Beirut Action Plan. While our Cultural Emergency Response programme has years of experience in emergency actions, our impact is multiplied by collaborating partners who join us through quick, decisive action. Working with ALIPH Foundation, Gerda Henkel Foundation, and the British Council’s Cultural Protection Fund multiplies our combined impact. And every bit of funding makes a crucial difference. Our individual donors also quickly committed additional support to their yearly contribution. And of course it would not have been possible without core funding from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Dutch Postcode Lottery. Our donors and collaborating partners have been essential to this urgent effort to rescue heritage and provide fast relief,” says Prince Claus Fund Director Joumana El Zein Khoury.

Through its Cultural Emergency Response programme, the Prince Claus Fund provides quick help to evacuate, stabilise or rescue cultural heritage that is under threat due to conflict situations or natural disasters. The Prince Claus Fund supports, connects and celebrates artists and cultural practitioners where cultural expression is under pressure, primarily in Latin America, Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and Eastern Europe. The Fund is supported by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Dutch Postcode Lottery, and private individuals and corporations.

The International alliance for the protection of heritage in conflict areas (ALIPH) is based in Geneva and was founded in 2017 following an initiative of France and the United Arab Emirates. It is currently supporting nearly 60 projects in 16 countries for a total of almost 20 million USD. During the COVID-19 pandemic, ALIPH committed 2 million USD to support over 100 local heritage operators in conflict or post-conflict areas weather the crisis.

The Gerda Henkel Foundation was established in June 1976 by Lisa Maskell in memory of her mother Gerda Henkel as an incorporated foundation under civil law, headquartered in Düsseldorf. The Gerda Henkel Foundation concentrates its support on the historical humanities. In some of the programmes the Foundation furthermore addresses issues of great relevance to contemporary life and the future. With its “Patrimonies” funding initiative it promotes the preservation of the cultural heritage, specifically in regions experiencing crisis. The Gerda Henkel Foundation can by virtue of its statutes pursue its objectives both inside and outside Germany.

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. They build connections, understanding and trust globally through arts and culture, education and English language. Founded in 1934, they are a UK charity governed by Royal Charter and a UK public body. They receive a 15 per cent core funding grant from the UK government.



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For more information, please contact
Martine Willekens, Prince Claus Fund PR Manager

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