More Than $1 Million Awarded for Mexico's Earthquake-struck Monte Albán

May 14, 2018 1:25 PM ET
Press Release

NEW YORK, May 14, 2018 /3BL Media/  World Monuments Fund (WMF) announced today more than $1 million in funding to support disaster response and restoration efforts at Monte Albán Archaeological Site in Oaxaca, Mexico.

The new project is the latest in WMF’s long history of supporting cultural heritage sites damaged or destroyed at the hands of natural disaster – beginning with the floods of Venice in 1966. Fifteen structures within Monte Albán and the northern section of Atzompa were affected by a devastating September 2017 earthquake, with five showing severe damage that required emergency structural shoring to prevent collapse. The site was included on the 2018 World Monuments Watch as part of the Disaster Sites of the Caribbean, the Gulf, and Mexico, with the goal of mobilizing heritage conservation efforts in the aftermath of a string of hurricanes and earthquakes.

WMF will launch a partnership with the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) to address the long-term stability of Monte Albán, including physical conservation, documentation, and geological assessment. The program will also emphasize training and capacity building, giving local technicians the skills they need to effectively repair and prepare Monte Albán for future natural disasters. Local architecture and engineering students in their last semester will carry out research and documentation in the first phase of work.

Leadership gifts from American Express, Roberto Hernández Ramírez and Claudia Madrazo de Hernández, and The Robert W. Wilson Charitable Trust, and additional generous donations from Charities Aid Foundation of Canada and Fundación Mary Street Jenkins, will make the program possible.

“For more than fifty years, World Monuments Fund has been helping people restore the buildings and places that define their values following natural disasters,” said Joshua David, President and CEO, World Monuments Fund. “Now we have the opportunity to safeguard one of Mexico’s most important archaeological sites while empowering its community. We are thankful for the support of leadership donors American Express, Roberto Hernández Ramírez and Claudia Madrazo de Hernández, and The Robert W. Wilson Charitable Trust, as well as all of the project’s other donors, who are collectively making this effort possible.”

“For more than two decades, American Express has been a proud advocate of the World Monuments Fund,” said Timothy J. McClimon, President, American Express Foundation. “Preserving the prolific Monte Alban is a critical step in rebuilding the Oaxaca community. We are honored to serve as a lead donor for this project.”

“The cultural sites that were damaged during this tragedy don't belong only to the Mexican people; they belong to humankind,” said Ambassador Diego Gómez Pickering, Consul General of Mexico in New York. “Out of great loss and devastation, we have a chance to restore hope and optimism to the people of Oaxaca and those for whom Monte Albán is a source of great pride. We are grateful for the support to make it stronger and accessible for future generations.”

The ancient Zapotec metropolis of Monte Albán was founded in the sixth century B.C. and became a World Heritage Site in 1987. Its impressive architectural remains—terraces, pyramids, and canals—extend over some four miles, and include hieroglyphic inscriptions that provide insight into the ancient Zapotec civilization. It was previously included on the 2008 World Monuments Watch to assure the sustainability of the archaeological zone in the face of threats including looting, vandalism, unchecked tourism, and forest fires.

Visit www.wmf.org to learn more.

Images available upon request.

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World Monuments Fund is the leading independent organization devoted to saving the world’s treasured places. For more than 50 years, working in over 100 countries, its highly skilled experts have applied proven and effective techniques to the preservation of important architectural and cultural heritage sites around the globe. Through partnerships with local communities, funders, and governments, WMF seeks to inspire an enduring commitment to stewardship for future generations. Headquartered in New York City, the organization has offices and affiliates worldwide. Visit www.wmf.org for more information, or connect with us on www.facebook.com/worldmonuments, www.twitter.com/worldmonuments, and instagram.com/worldmonumentsfund.

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Launched in 1996 with founding sponsor American Express, the biennial World Monuments Watch calls international attention to threatened cultural heritage sites around the world. The Watch provides an opportunity for sites and their nominators to raise public awareness, foster local participation, advance innovation and collaboration, and demonstrate effective solutions.
The list is compiled by a panel of international heritage experts in the fields of archaeology, architecture, art history, and preservation.

Since the program’s inception, more than 800 sites in more than 135 countries and territories—including those on the 2018 Watch—have been included. The international attention given to Watch sites provides a vital tool with which local entities may leverage funding from a variety of sources, including municipal, regional, and national governments; foundations; corporate sponsors; international aid organizations; and private donors. Since 1996, WMF has contributed $105 million to date; while almost $300 million has been allocated to the sites by other entities. In addition, Watch Day is a component of the program that aims to connect communities to their built heritage through public events. Learn more at wmf.org/watch.