17th International Soqotra Conference and Annual General Meeting of the Friends of Soqotra (FoS)
The 17th International Soqotra Conference and Annual General Meeting of the Friends of Soqotra (FoS) successfully convened on 25-28 October 2018 at the Bahrain National Museum, and was organised by ARC-WH in cooperation with FoS. This was the first FoS Annual General Meeting held in the Arab region and the first international conference of its size that was solely dedicated to the Socotra Archipelago.
The conference brought together a total of 76 participants from 20 countries, members and non-members of FoS, including the largest concentration of Soqotris (15 total) to ever attend and present at a scientific meeting.
During the four-day conference, speakers highlighted past and ongoing research, activities and the latest multidisciplinary scientific studies related to natural and cultural heritage on Soqotra. Participants also discussed ways in which they could improve conservation efforts and the livelihoods of Soqotris through sustainable methods in working groups. The closing ceremony concluded with a certificate for each Socotri attendant and positive outlooks towards the future.
The internationally awarded film Socotra: Island of Djinns was twice presented by the Spanish director Mr. Jordi Estiva, at the Bahrain National Museum in conjunction with the international conference. The black and white film was open to the public to raise further awareness and share the beauty, mystery and uniqueness of Soqotra.
Prior to the conference, ARC-WH hosted the second workshop, Integrating Cultural Heritage in the Conservation and Development of Planning in Socotra Island, from 21-25 October 2018 at its premises in Manama, Bahrain, where eight Socotri participants enhanced their skills in skills in documentation, conservation, surveying, and film, which resulted in the production of short documentary presented to the conference attendees.
The workshop forms part of a two-year programme entitled Integrating Cultural Heritage in the Conservation and Development of Planning in Socotra Island and was organised by ARC-WH in collaboration with the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh and Freie Universität Berlin, with financial support of the British Council.