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Asmara Heritage Project
My research into the architectural heritage of Eritrea spans two decades, including the preparation of the 1,300-page UNESCO Nomination Dossier for the nation’s modernist capital, Asmara, from 2013-2016. In 2017, Asmara was successfully inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List, becoming Eritrea’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site and Africa’s first modernist World Heritage Site. I have been working with Eritrean colleagues at the Asmara Heritage Project as the lead consultant for seven years and was responsible for compiling the Nomination Dossier and liaising with UNESCO and their scientific advisory body, ICOMOS, during the lengthy assessment process. This research won the RIBA President’s Award for Research in History and Theory and the RIBA President’s Medal for Research in 2016. My interest in Eritrea began in 1997 when I first visited Asmara and was struck by the fact that a site of such historical, cultural and architectural significance barely featured in any history book, architectural or otherwise. My work in Eritrea since then has been to research Eritrea’s exceptional built environment and to disseminate this to local and international audiences as a means of encouraging long-term development and prosperity, as well as to promoting more critical approaches to heritage management and historiography globally.
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