5.30pm – 7.00pm, followed by a wine and nibbles reception in the Foyer of Adam House.


The Soqotra Heritage Project

The Soqotra Archipelago is an isolated continental fragment 300km south of Yemen in the Arabian Gulf. It was designated as a World Heritage Site in 2008 for its unique and globally important biodiversity, which has been well documented following years of research. However, the cultural heritage of Soqotra is very poorly known. The Soqotra Heritage Project was established to redress this imbalance, through training a cadre of Soqotri experts in a selection of methods to locate, document and assess a wide range of both tangible and intangible heritage assets, to raise awareness about their importance, and to start to deliver practical conservation measures in a complex and challenging physical, social and political environment.


Dr Alan Forrest is not what would be traditionally described as an expert in cultural heritage, and his research has mostly focused on biodiversity conservation. Since joining the Centre for Middle Eastern Plants in 2012, his work has diversified to bring together strands of natural and cultural heritage in a region where they are inextricably linked and have evolved together, as well as working towards sustainable use and associated conservation and governance measures. His work on Soqotra has involved consideration of spatial evolutionary diversity measures as predictors of Protected Areas, conservation assessments, and working with global experts on the heritage of Soqotra to bring natural and cultural heritage conservation under a single banner leading to sustainable livelihood options.