CHwB’s Regional Restoration Camps were awarded the 2014 EU Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Award at a ceremony held September 29 at the Ministry of Culture in Tirana. The event was honored by many partners, friends and supporters over the years, who assembled on this special day to pay tribute to the remarkable work of CHwB.
Among 160 submitted projects from 30 countries, the CHwB Regional Restoration Camps were declared a winner of the prestigious EU Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Award in the category of “Education, Training and Awareness-Raising.” This is the first time that an initiative conceived and developed in Albania has won such an important prize on the European stage.
The CHwB Regional Restoration Camps represent a simple, successful training model, which grew, from 2007 to 2014, from a few students in Albania to multiple sessions in four countries, with a diverse array of participants. As CHwB Regional Coordinator Lejla Hadžić explained, “The Camps began their journey in 2007. The first Camp had only 16 professionals. Given that they came from countries that until recently had been at war, they understood that in Albania there are no differences between us and that we enjoy a common heritage … a heritage that has been entrusted to us as a responsibility, but that is at the same time a right that no one can take away from us.”
Dr. Ing-Marie Munktell, Chair of the Board of CHwB in Sweden, spoke in the same tone: “As we see it, there is a clear link between restoring a building and building human relations, trust, economy, society and indeed, nations.”
Representatives of the Camps’ partner universities were also present at the ceremony, including Prof. Dr. Lorenc Bejko (University of Tirana) and Etleva Dobjani (Polis University). In their remarks, they praised the Camps as a unique professional experience for their students.
For Arta Dollani, Director of the Institute of Cultural Monuments, it was important to emphasize that with the Camps, as well as the rest of their projects, CHwB has set a new standard. “It is invaluable that these processes have followed the best contemporary European experiences,” said Dollani.
During the awarding of the prize, Council Member of Europa Nostra Prof. Dr. Lida Miraj also added that “The Camps are a good model for training programs in all of Europe, because they put together students and professionals while helping local communities in the revitalization of their cultural heritage.”
From his perspective as Chargé d’Affaires of the EU Delegation in Albania, Clive Rumbold also expressed his appreciation for the Camps for their “ability to advance the efforts of regional communication and reconciliation, one of the key aspects of European integration.” Meanwhile, Patrik Svensson, Chargé d’Affaires of the Swedish Embassy in Albania spoke on behalf of CHwB’s primary donor, saying, “This award for a great achievement should also be an example to inspire and encourage other organizations and institutions.”
The ceremony closed with a cocktail, accompanied by live instrumental music, while everyone together, partners, friends and supporters of CHwB, hoped for many more such proud moments in the future.