July 13, 2020 saw the signing of a bilateral agreement for the establishment in NArFU of UNESCO Chair “Technologies for Preservation of the Historical and Cultural Heritage of the Arctic Region Countries”, an event supported by the Russian Federation Commission for UNESCO. The agreement was signed by Director-General of UNESCO Audrey Azoulay and NArFU Rector Elena Kudryashova.
The Chair has its agenda geared towards preservation, promotion and translation of cultural heritage sites. Its other essential focus is specialist training in the field of identification, exploration and preservation of cultural heritage sites on the unique historical and natural landscape of the Arctic.
The idea of setting up at Arkhangelsk-based NArFU of common intellectual dimension that would allow for the exchange of scientific, cultural and training-related information in the field of current trends in exploration of the Arctic cultural heritage, appeared back in 2017, when work was in process to perform a series of works on the Solovetsky Islands, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
With the support kindly provided by the RF Ministry of Culture and the Russian Federation Commission for UNESCO, NArFU had prepared an application for the establishment of the above Chair, an endeavor contributed by some of its schools – the Higher School of Engineering (Department of High North and Arctic Cultural Heritage Sites; Department of Construction Engineering, Architecture and Graphics; Department of Composite Materials and Environmental Engineering; Wooden Architecture Centre); Higher School of Humanities, Social Sciences and Cross-Cultural Communication (Department of Cultural and Religious Studies; Research and Training Centre “The Archaeology of the North”; Centre for Indigenous North European Cultural Research; Centre for Comparative Religious Studies and Ethnosemiotics; Orthodox Culture Center; Department of National History); and Intellectual Resources Center – NArFU Research Library.
The package of relevant documents, inclusive of the English-language application for the establishment in NArFU of UNESCO Chair “Technologies for Preservation of the Historical and Cultural Heritage of the Arctic Region Countries”, as well as the support letters from seven Russian and seven international partners, was filed with the Russian Federation Commission for UNESCO for further forwarding to UNESCO Secretariat- based in Paris, in April 2019. The approval was received as early as the autumn of 2019.