Executive Summary PUSH Regional Workshop
YMCA Jerusalem

The idea for the Promoting dialogue and cultural Understanding of our Shared Heritage (PUSH) project developed through many discussions between faculty members and administrative representatives from Al Quds University and Bezalel Academy of Art and Design with the aim of encouraging cooperation between academics in the region. The PUSH project builds on the UNESCO recommendations for academic networking and dialogue to foster mutual respect for cultural and natural heritage. Bolstered by the addition of The Jordan Society for Sustainable Development, the tri-lateral PUSH project aims to create a regional dialogue on issues of cultural and natural heritage, resulting in concrete benefits at the national and regional levels.

To that aim, PUSH works to break down cultural prejudices by building greater understanding of the region's shared heritage as a means to respect and appreciate the cultures of the 'other' thereby advancing peace in the region. Furthermore, by identifying important sites of natural and cultural heritage, PUSH brings international attention to the rich cultural and natural heritage of the region in need of preservation. 

Since the PUSH project was initiated in October 2006, the three partners have worked to synthesize the available inventories of cultural and natural heritage through discussions with stakeholders including other universities, research institutions, private consultants and local non-governmental organizations.  During the discussion and evaluation process each PUSH team has been in constant dialogue with the other two teams, to draw attention to the commonality of sites located in Israeli, Palestinian and Jordanian areas.  Weekly meetings were held at the management level, augmented by regular full team meetings in Jerusalem, and constant email and phone discussions. These meetings and discussions enabled team members to create the necessary synergy between the three national lists, as well as to create and expand professional cross-border linkages between the three partner institutions. 

As a result, each team produced a publication entitled Exploring the Common Heritage: Draft Inventory of Sites of Shared Regional Heritage.   Each inventory describes no less than thirty examples of shared cultural and natural heritage sites.  The breadth of the sites is unparalleled; from rock art, to religious and historical buildings; from cultural routes, to sites of early technological development, each of which illustrate the important historical, cultural and natural heritage shared by the peoples of the region.

The Regional Workshop described in this Executive Summary brought the three PUSH teams and numerous local, regional and international experts together to review the important inventories and plan the next stages of the PUSH project.

We welcome your comments and participation in this unique discussion.