The SOAR (Strengthening the security and resilience of at-risk religious sites and communities) project held a EU level Network Dialogue event on 28 June 2022 in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, for selected representatives of the partnership and their networks and key agreed stakeholders (which included EU Commission & national government representatives, private and public sector architects and planners, religious leaders, and public authorities) to identify challenges and opportunities for Security by Design for religious sites on the specific topic of existing religious buildings of cultural heritage.
The EU-funded project SOAR aims at increasing the awareness of, and capacity to prevent and mitigate physical and human security threats to places of worship through Security by Design (SBD). The concept of ‘Security by Design’ incorporates security features into the design and fabric of the building and its urban context. The SOAR project partners Enhancing Faith Institutions (EFI), the Network for Religious and Traditional Peacemakers, and the Architects’ Council of Europe (ACE) cooperate in this endeavour with an extensive network of professionals, including representatives from all majority and minority faiths practising within the EU. The project is supported by the United Nations Alliance of Civilisations.
The aim of this network dialogue meeting was to discuss Security by Design (SBD) with the selected representatives and private and public sector architects and planners, religious leaders, and public authorities such as police and fire services, to:
a) share good practice through security by design examples of current religious sites from the EU and around the world.
b) learnings from attacks on religious sites and their outcomes which provide valuable insights into how assailants operate, and the level to which each attack was mitigated by protection measures in place, vigilance of the targets.
c) the response of the people in the building and the reactions of passers-by and the authorities.
The Agenda for the event was as follows:
09:30 am Arrival of guests to the venue
10:00 am Welcome message from Architects Council of Europe – Dr. Veronika Schröpfer, Architects’ Council of Europe
10:05 am Presentation of the SOAR Project: Achievements so far, pilot countries and trainings, timelines, events, and resources available for you – Shaukat Warraich, Enhancing Faith Institutions
10:20 am Protecting religious places from man-made and natural threats: the ICCROM experience – Kelly Hazejager, Consultant at First Aid and Resilience for Heritage in Times of Crisis (FAR) & Sustaining Digital Heritage (SDH), ICCROM
10:35 am Traditional crafts needed to protect traditional [religious] buildings – Gerald Wagenhofer, Managing Director at UBW GmbH
10:55 am Safeguarding [religious] heritage in the context of sustainable development and design – Dr. Selma Harington, Registered Architect MRIAI HonAIA, ACE Executive Board Member, SOAR Advisory Board Member
11:15 am Conclusions of workshop and final remarks – Dr. Veronika Schröpfer and Shaukat Warraich
11:20 am Short coffee break
11:30 pm Walking Tour of the Portuguese Synagogue and the Jewish neighborhood
01:00 pm Lunch and networking. END.