The 2014 CyArk Annual Summit Update

New 500 Sites Announced and Summit Award Winners

by Elizabeth Lee
October 31, 2014
“If we lose these sites, we also lose the stories they tell. Cultural heritage sites make up a piece of our collective human memory, which is why they are so important to preserve. We are delighted to announce these new 500 projects and partnerships which demonstrate the commitment to this global effort.”
-Ben Kacyra, CyArk founder.

On October 7-8th, CyArk held its Annual Summit in Washington, DC to provide an update on CyArk 500 Challenge, rally support for this global program, and discuss key issues facing the preservation community. During the Annual Summit, CyArk unveiled the newest sites added to the CyArk 500 in front of an audience of over 200 government officials, ambassadors, corporate and foundation supporters, institutional partners, university researchers, students, reporters, and the general public. Gustavo Araoz, CyArk 500 Advisory Council Chair, announced the newest sites nominated to the 500, including: The Ancient City of Damacus in Syria, Quiriqua in Guatemala, and the Medieval Palace of Visegrad in Hungary.

Newly completed sites in the 500 were also recognized during the opening ceremony. A representative for each of the newly completed sites were called to the stage to place a crystal plaque in the CyAk 500 Ark. Since the start of the 500 Challenge in 2013, over 150 sites have been nominated, 80 sites have been approved and over 60 have been digitally preserved.

A year ago, CyArk launched the 500 Challenge, an ambitious international initiative to document, share, and archive 500 at-risk cultural heritage sites over the course of five years. With the ever increasing threat of global conflict, natural disasters, and population growth, our heritage is at risk—and its preservation is of higher importance than ever. The CyArk 500 Challenge brings together leaders from around the world to nominate and help fund the digital preservation of these important sites.

In addition to the recognition of CyArk 500 sites, the Annual Summit provided the opportunity for discussion regarding new innovations in the technology and heritage fields, with awards granted to key participants in CyArk’s preservation efforts. A special Reception and Dinner was held at the National Archives’ Rotunda Gallery to host the Summit Award ceremony. Summit Award winners included:
• Iron Mountain, Summit Award for Partnership
• Historic Scotland, Summit Award for Innovation
• Paul Turnbull, President of Mid-Pacific Institute, Summit Award for Education
• Gustavo Araoz, Summit Award for Council Leadership

Please consider nominating a site for the CyArk 500 Challenge, and help in this impressive global effort to digitally preserve our shared cultural heritage.
CyArk 500 Advisory Chair Gustavo Araoz introducing the newly added sites to the CyArk 500 Challenge.
CyArk co-founders Ben and Barbara Kacyra handing a plaque to Robin Nixon of the National Mall & Memorial Parks, recognizing the Washington Monument as part of the CyArk 500 Challenge.
CyArk co-founder Barbara Kacyra and President of Mid-Pacific Institute Paul Turnbull at the VIP Dinner, held in the Rotunda Gallery of the National Archives.