On May 19, Cultural Heritage without Borders—Kosovo Branch crossed frontiers and opened a new chapter in the ‘Make it Yours!’ campaign by inviting local journalists to participate in hands-on restoration work at Isufaj Tower in Junik, Kosovo.
The main goals of ‘Make it Yours!’, launched in Albania in March, are to increase Albanians’ awareness of and involvement with their heritage and to advocate for politicians and public interest groups to take heritage into consideration.
In total, 14 journalists participated in Junik, putting the finishing touches on the restoration work before the tower was inaugurated as the Regional Tourism Centre two days later. Built in the mid-nineteenth century, Isufaj Tower follows a typical local typology, as a tall, fortified residential building. Until recently, the tower was neglected and almost destroyed. Yet, there were many who saw its potential. Now, it has been restored as a part of CHwB’s ongoing local project ‘See you in Dukagjin’. This project, funded by the European Commission and implemented by CHwB, aims to support Kosovo's economic development through rejuvenation of the country’s rich cultural heritage resources.
The ‘Make it Yours!’ event in Junik is the first event of this campaign to take place in Kosovo. It comes on the heels of the campaign’s inauguration in Gjirokastra, Albania on March 28. For the first event of this campaign, CHwB invited several dozen cultural journalists to become a part of the news by helping to paint the façade of the newly-restored Babameto category II monument in Gjirokastra’s old bazaar.
Local heritage is an essential piece of human identity, and a society’s active engagement with heritage is one sign of a dynamic and evolving culture. Therefore, ‘Make it yours!’ encourages everyone, from specialists to media to politicians to everyday people, to take an active role in using, preserving and promoting their heritage. In Albanian, the phrase ‘Bëje tënden!’ (written ‘Bone tanden!’ in Kosovo) captures both the idea that people across the spectrum of society should take personal responsibility for their heritage and the idea that they need to do their part to conserve and advocate their heritage, in order to ensure that it remains a source of pride and inspiration for generations to come.
As the ‘Make it yours!’ campaign continues to expand and develop in both Albania and Kosovo, future events will include activities with schoolchildren, opportunities for politicians to take a hand in the restoration process, continued engagement with local and national media and awareness-building events to encourage the community to invest in preserving their local heritage.
4 June 2012
Last Newsletter (1/09)
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