Sami Hawari, former field coordinator for SHATIL's Mixed Cities Project in Akko, was recently appointed to the Israel branch of UNESCO's committee to preserve Arab heritage sites in Israel.
The experience, status and positioning Hawari gained in his work at SHATIL paved the way for this prestigious appointment. Hawari said: "I believe my appointment came about only because of my work in SHATIL’s Mixed Cities Project. The Mixed Cities staff had identified important Arab cultural sites slated for destruction in Ramle and Akko and I hope we will be able to prevent their destruction and conserve these and other cultural treasures." Hawari said he is the only member of the team who comes from a civil society background; the others are all engineers, architects or planners.
Sami Hawari (in the striped blue shirt) guiding a group of reporters around Akko's Old City
"Sami's appointment excited all of us, because in cooperation with local residents, we succeeded in raising the issue of preservation of Arab landmarks on the local and national agenda with the hope of raising its importance on an international level," said Buthayna Dabit, former coordinator of SHATIL’s Mixed Cities Project. "In the end, such preservation will raise the quality of life of the Arab and Jewish residents of Israel's mixed cities."
The preservation project is part of UNESCO's worldwide effort to preserve cultural and natural sites of outstanding value to humanity and include Masada, Petra, the pyramids of Egypt and Australia's Great Barrier Reef.