The past year has been particularly challenging, CHIEF ETS has in fact been engaged since the beginning of the conflict in Ukraine in various support activities for the protection of cultural heritage.

Through its network of volunteers and supporters, CHIEF ETS has managed to satisfy requests for help for the purchase and sending of materials and equipment necessary for the handling and securing of Cultural Heritage in Ukraine. These requests have been sent directly from Ukrainian Ministry of Culture through HERI – Heritage Emergency Response Initiative. With the help of the Ukrainian consulate, CHIEF was able to send to Ukraine and to UNESCO sites, a relevant cargo with products and materials for Ukrainian museums and monuments now placed at great risk due to the conflict.

Moreover, CHIEF ETS lectured at the workshop organized by ICCROM to support cultural heritage operators in Ukraine. ICCROM through its flagship program on First Aid and Resilience for Cultural Heritage in Times of Crisis (FAR), in collaboration with the Maidan Museum and the Heritage Emergency Response Initiative (HERI), organized an online two days’ workshop on the collaborative methodology development of damage and risk assessment for sites that are damaged or at destruction risk. Held on 11 and 12 April 2022, the workshop brought together over 77 professionals representing museums, art institutions, memorials, archives, departments of culture, research institutes and universities, non-governmental and private cultural institutions. The participants included 14 regions, Chernihiv, Kharkiv, Mykolayiv, Donetsk and Crimea as well. Among the attendees were representatives of the Ukrainian Ministry of Culture, including Deputy Minister Kateryna Chuieva, the Ukrainian national committees of ICOM, ICOMOS and Blue Shield, as well as representatives of properties inscribed on UNESCO World Heritage List such as the Cathedral of St. Sofia and the Kyiv Pechersk Lavra. During the workshop, simultaneously translated into Ukrainian, participants received emergency training on how to carry out systematic and coordinated damage and risk assessments of movable and immovable cultural heritage. This included working together to develop specific contents to conduct these assessments in Ukraine, helping to define a common method for documenting war damage, and estimating post-conflict recovery needs of the cultural heritage of all types.

CHIEF ETS also organized a series of burnout prevention meetings for rescuers working in war zones. Training those who carry out the protection of cultural heritage in war areas is something that in turn requires specific training, it is a sector of intervention that has unique connotations and involves high levels of risk for the man and for artifacts. Beyond technical skills, it is fundamental and essential to have the ability to manage stressful and dangerous situations and to be able to work in a team. The prevention of post-traumatic stress and burnout goes beyond the traditional preparation that a Cultural Heritage operator in a crisis area possesses.

With these premises CHIEF Cultural Heritage International Emergency Force has organized in collaboration with HERI Heritage Rescue Emergency Initiative psychological coaching through a series of meetings aimed at the prevention of post-traumatic stress and burnout. The support group was followed by Dr. Cesare Maria Calabrese (psychoanalyst, specialist in psychoanalytic psychotherapy, professor of emergency psychology and techniques for the prevention and treatment of burnout syndrome) and by Dr. Marco Cesare Calabrese (clinical psychologist, homed in emergency psychology and the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder). These meetings were held in Ukrainian and Italian and were followed by a professional Italian-Ukrainian sworn interpreter.