Summit Format

The first day of the Summit was a closed session hosted by NEH at their offices. Participants were welcomed by Dr. Peggy Plympton, NEH Deputy Chairwoman, and spent the day meeting in both large group and breakout sessions to describe their projects, discuss shared principles of collaboration, and identify specific ways in which they could work together. Thomas Barritt of Ketchum Communications moderated the large group sessions. Breakout groups were moderated by Dr. Susan Ackerman, Dr. Andrew Moore, Dr. Laetitia La Follette, Dr. Ann Benbow, and Mr. Colin Mably. The second day of the meeting was hosted by NGS at their facility in downtown Washington. Participants met to finalize discussions from the day before, agree on the principles of collaboration, and determine next steps for the initiative. This session was followed by a panel of representatives from grant-making organizations, each of whom described the type of support available for cultural heritage protection initiatives. Panelists included Dr. Sarah Lepinski (NEH); Dr. John Yellen (NSF); Dr. John Francis (NGS); Dr. Ben Jeffs (WMF); and Dr. Paul Rissman (private philanthropist).

This closed morning session was followed by a public event in the Grosvenor Auditorium at NGS. Dr. Christopher Thornton, Senior Director, Cultural Heritage Initiative, NGS, served as master of ceremonies. The event, which attracted approximately 150 attendees, began at 12:30 PM with a welcome by Dr. Susan Ackerman, President of ASOR. This was followed by a second welcome from Mr. Gary Knell, Chief Executive Officer of NGS, who introduced Mr. Phillipp Ackermann, Minister and Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany. Mr. Ackermann announced a new memorandum of understanding (MoU) between ASOR and the cultural heritage projects led by the German Archaeological Institute and the Museum for Islamic Art, Berlin. The announcement was followed by remarks from Mr. Mark Taplin, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, and finally from Dr. William Adams, Chairman of NEH.

After Chairman Adams spoke, Dr. Thornton hosted a lightning round for representatives of the 19 groups. Each group had three minutes to describe its project and explain newly-identified areas for collaboration. The lightning round was followed by reflections and observations from three Syrian archaeologists attending the Summit: Dr. Samir Abdulac, ICOMOS; Dr. Salam Al Kuntar, Penn Cultural Heritage Center; and Dr. Amr Al-Azm, Shawnee State University and The Day After project. Dr. Andrew Moore, President of the AIA, thanked the participants and all who attended the open session. Dr. Adams then offered his thoughts on the conference, and the open session adjourned. The session was video-recorded and will be made available on the websites of ASOR and the AIA.

Top Image Original Photograph: Resafa (Sergiopolis) - centralised church
Credit: Judith McKenzie/Manar al-Athar