ESTERDAD is a training course bent on developing capacity in Middle Eastern countries for more effective action against the illegal trade and in particular, to improve rates of identification and recovery of stolen and trafficked objects, thereby deterring further trade.
An empowering aspect of this project is that it is conceived, organized and implemented by Biladi, a Lebanese NGO, for the benefit of cultural heritage in Arab Middle Eastern countries.
Biladi has worked for 11 consecutive years on heritage education and protection. Between 2012 and 2014, Biladi launched two initiatives to safeguard heritage in times of conflict: “Lebanese for Lebanon” and the “Founding Committee of the Lebanese Blue Shield”. The current threats to heritage have pushed Biladi to collaborate with Syrian and Lebanese governments to develop initiatives against the illicit trade of cultural property. In order for it to establish and follow up training to an international standard, Biladi has asked its long-term consultant on heritage protection, Neil Brodie, to lead the research team and supervise courses. Neil Brodie is presently Senior Research Fellow on the Endangered Archaeology in the Middle East and North Africa (EAMENA) Project at the University of Oxford. He has been researching the illicit trade in cultural property for twenty years and has published many academic books and papers on the subject. The EAMENA project is a founding member of the UNESCO ProCult UNITWIN network