LAHORE - Engage local communities to protect heritage, use social media to aware youth about architectural heritage and learning from strength in diversity is appeal of time to preserve whatever we have left in the name of heritage.

These views were expressed by speakers yesterday at various sessions at first day of the International Heritage and Museums Conference held at Alhamra Arts Council. The moot was organised by Walled City of Lahore Authority and British Council that was attended by large number of people from all walks of life.

As many as 30 international delegates and 40 national experts are participating in moot.

Minister for Education Rana Mashood was chief guest while British Council Pakistan Deputy Country Director Jim Booth delivered opening addresses. 

In session titled Creating Pride and Identity Masood Ahmed Khan from Aga Khan Trust for Culture case studies of Shahi Hammam on which public bathing had long been forgotten but through successful series of projects the Royal Bath reignited its glory attracting thousands of tourists yearly.  “Whole of Lahore Walled city should be declared as special status under which its preservation and conservation will be followed.

He said engaging local communities, native boys and girls who were not stepped out from their homes to see day of light were enrolled in different projects and now they were pro actively participating in conservation of heritage projects being run in walled city areas.

He said a lot of synergy and money being invested by concerned authorities and sponsors in Lahore Walled city’s monuments rehab could change the deteriorating situation. Former Director Lahore Museum Sumaira Samad moderated the session. 

One of the interesting speeches was delivered by Mark Suggitt Derwent of Valley Mills World Heritage Site who talked on Learning from Communities. “Living communities are the actual heritage, protect them,” he maintained. Suggitt said he was working at project in Bradford Art Gallery which situated in Bradford. Interestingly, Bradford has a 20 percent Pakistani population who are largely post-war settlers. He quoted British Labour Party MP Jo Cox for Batley and Spen Valley , West Yorkshire who was assassinated by right-wing mindset.

Jo Cox quoted: “Our communities have been deeply enhanced by immigration. While we celebrate our diversity, what inspires me time after is that we are far more united and have more in common with each other then things that divide us.”

In session titled ‘Enhancing Community and Public Participation by Neil Gregory’ spoke on Scotland's Urban Past a project to preserve Scotland’s heritage. He said targeted goals to engage youth in preserving Scotland’s heritage was pouring encouraging results. 

A video presentation was showed by Caroline Barrie Smith on Building Better Boatbuilders.Duncan Wilson CEO of Historic England addressed sessions Making Heritage Relevant to Contemporary Society followed by questions and answers session with Salima Hashmi.

WCLA Director General Kamran Lashari speaking inaugural address said for the first time a conference of this scale has been held in Pakistan which is strongly focusing on the museums and heritage of Pakistan.

“We are glad to host so many foreign and national delegates and showcase the works being carried out inside the walled city of lahore. The conference will be a regular feature by WCLA and British Council,” he held.