The horrifying news about the earthquake in from Haiti give all indications of major devastation and loss. Once the immediate human relief effort is over, I call on all ICOMOS to come together in solidarity to help in whatever way we can with the heritage recovery process. It is the right time now to identify individual ICOMOS members and groups of members who would be willing to form part of volunteer teams to be deployed to Haiti as needed when the time comes and the heritage needs are manifested by our Haitian colleagues.
For that reason, I ask all National and International Committees to circulate this letter to their full membership. Anyone interested in considering to be a volunteer should drop me a line and let me know who you are so that we may keep you informed about the opportunities that arise as we learn more about the situation.
For those national Committees from countries with disaster recovery experience, we also ask that you urge your government and other national institutions to be generous with their assistance.
For me personally, Haiti is a special place where I began my professional conservation life. It was at the Citadelle and later at the Palais de Sans-Souci in Cap Haitien that I had my very first projects as head of the OAS heritage assistance mission after graduation. I know the Haitians to be a good people, possessing great dignity and generosity while living amid extreme poverty.
For this reason, I put my own name down as the first volunteer to assist in whatever way I can.
Thanks to all,
Gustavo Araoz, ICOMOS President
gustavo.araoz @ icomos.org (delete spaces)