Welcoming address of Dr. Halit Eren at the 2011 Annual Seminar of the Al-Quds/Jerusalem 2015 Program

Welcoming address of Dr. Halit Eren at the 2011 Annual Seminar of the Al-Quds/Jerusalem 2015 Program

Distinguished participants, honourable guests,

I am most pleased to greet you and welcome you to IRCICA for the annual seminar of Al-Quds/Jerusalem 2015 program. The 2010 Annual Meeting was held exactly one year ago involving different types of activities. I am happy that we have come together again this year for a seminar and another round of studies and consultations within the framework of the program. I wish to record at the outset that what is being done in the context of this program is followed with interest and appreciation by the Member States of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference and by academic and architectural circles around the world. This is due to the originality of the program, its authentic and innovative nature.

It also owes largely to the effective collaboration deployed by the network of universities cooperating with the Centre. This is a crucial aspect of the initiative. Professors and students from universities in the Muslim world, Europe, and Palestine itself are participating in the Al-Quds program and also contributing with the studios and projects they conduct during their academic years. In this way we aim to promote collaboration of international organisations, universities and professionals for the study, preservation, revival and reuse of the architectural and cultural heritage. This also contributes in making known this heritage to the contributors from different cultures. This initiative is a multidisciplinary, scientific and technical one. It is also the first to engage world-wide collaboration focusing on Al-Quds/Jerusalem city conditions, preservation of its heritage and improvement of its urban quarters.

Since it became operational in 2006 the program advanced well with two field missions, publication of reports, and seminars. It is observed that such activities contribute in reinforcing public awareness on the issue of the heritage of Al-Quds especially with regard to its multi-faith character and its Islamic heritage.

Our seminar will be an occasion for everyone concerned to exchange views and observations with regard to the program and its main components. The first component, the study of the history of Al-Quds is necessary because a key element of the cause of al-Quds is its history. The cause of al-Quds is rooted in history and its achievement will be founded on its historical legacy. Secondly, rehabilitation of the quarters and living conditions is a major aim of the program. Third, restoration and conservation of the monuments is beginning to acquire practical shape as this year’s program comprises development of initial concepts on the restoration of three sites: Ribat al-Mansouri, Khan al Sultan and Suq al-Qattanin, as a beginning. The fourth component, presentation and promotion of awareness on Al-Aqsa Museum and Library, was given considerable thought during our meetings of the last couple of years. I believe the present seminar will further develop the concepts and guidelines of these important aspects of the program. The past seminars indeed opened new avenues each year with regard to the implementation of the program as well as the strengthening of its objectives, impact and echoes.

Our distinguished participants here, the architects and specialists, it is them who are the real contributors with their ideas, findings and conceptions and we are here to channel your works for the benefit of al-Quds, its residents and its heritage. I would like to warmly thank you for your participation past and forthcoming. I extend my sincere thanks and appreciation to Prof. Murat Soygeniş, Dean of the Faculty of Architecture of Yıldız Technical University, Prof. Ahmet Hadrovic, Dean of the Faculty of Architecture of the University of Sarajevo for their presence; also Prof. Mohammad Ghosheh from Palestine and Dr. Ihsan Elrabbae from Jordan for their participation. I would also like to sincerely thank my colleague Prof. Amir Pasic, Head of IRCICA’s Architectural Heritage Department and his assistants, for their remarkable efforts. I wish you a productive meeting. Thank you. 

(IRCICA; 28 January 2011)