RIWAQ’s mission is to protect, restore, and rehabilitate the architectural and cultural heritage in Palestine through its main programs: the Restoration Program, the Regeneration of the 50 Most Significant Historic Centers, and the Community and Cultural Program. RIWAQ contributes to the production and dissemination of knowledge about heritage through its Research and Publications Program and works on building a conducive institutional and legal environment. RIWAQ also seeks to provide job opportunities in conservation and restoration through its Job Creation Program.
Over 30 years of work, RIWAQ has been able to document over 50,320 historic buildings in more than 422 villages, towns, and cities in the West Bank, Gaza, and Jerusalem. RIWAQ has also managed to create an alternative cultural infrastructure in rural areas through the adaptive reuse of more than 130 historic buildings to serve as premises for women’s associations, youth centers, children’s libraries, and more.
For the past 6 years, RIWAQ has been working to respond to the geopolitical challenges facing Jerusalem, including separation, fragmentation, and marginalization. Through the “Life Jacket Project,” RIWAQ has developed an approach that considers rural Jerusalem as one cluster rather than a group of single villages. RIWAQ explored the rehabilitation possibilities of the historic centers within their broader urban context and their historic relations with each other on one hand and with the city of Jerusalem on the other. The villages that RIWAQ has worked on include Beit Iksa, Jaba’, Kafr ‘Aqab, Al-Jib, and Qalandiya.
RIWAQ’s work in the Jerusalem cluster not only includes the restoration and preservation of historic centers but also provides a program based on community and research activities that link villages and their communities and try to revive their crafts and landscapes as well as historical, social, and cultural relationships.
In 2021, RiWAQ focused its efforts on activating the previously restored spaces in Kafr ‘Aqab and Qalandiya by making them available for use by institutions and active groups to contribute to attracting activities and life to the historic centers.
In the past two years, RIWAQ has been working to reach a wider audience in Palestine and beyond through digital campaigns, webinars, and its new membership program, “Friends of RIWAQ.”