Since the very first forum on built heritage in Islamic states held in Riyadh over five years ago (May 2010), under the patronage of the Custodian of the Two holy Mosques, I have been thinking of a mechanism that would make interest in built heritage a constant. Therefore I have been determined to turn that large event into a national one allowing us to revisit built heritage annually; an event offering citizens continuous interaction with their history and local tales their forefathers had experienced firsthand, the very people that had contributed to placing the foundations of this nation. I was not interested in celebrating, but more so in communicating and connecting. So I, since the very beginning, put into consideration that this event would be an opportunity for development and reassessment, and that every forum would be a milestone marking the distanced travelled and the distance yet to be covered.
I was thinking of a forum that would serve as a platform of communication for all social segments, a platform to communicate heritage and embed it into members of the community. I do not see the forum as an academic convention despite the fact that it accommodates a vital scientific and research aspect. There are a multitude of conventions , and the forum is not a mere event. It is a comprehensive vessel of communication mainly aiming for social segments to ingrain heritage into their souls. I must state here that the goal here is larger than holding a forum celebrating built heritage, we seek to create a continuous social and cultural dynamic tied to the heritage cause. The forum should be a meeting ground for discourse and presentation of achievements realized throughout the year. During the numbered days the forum is held, there is a review of all the accomplishments achieved throughout the past year and a layout of plans for the coming year. We do not wish that for the flame currently burning in the hearts and minds of people to be extinguished.
I had a number of objectives for the forum, even though they all fall under communication. I felt that the forum was an opportunity to create allies to support the preservation of built heritage. These allies could be local owners of heritage sites, state agencies with obligations that overlap with built heritage, businessmen, scholars, or even from the general public. I told myself, that the success of any program reviving built heritage sites in Saudi Arabia is in need of such alliances. We face a grave issue of the discontinuity of life in historic sites. This issue is not solved with the renovation of sites but through the investment in them through the social base not just the adoption of major ventures. There must be a balance between enabling the local community and large investments so that emotional bonds with certain places are not lost and that the tales behind these places are kept fresh in peoples’ minds.
This is the third forum of 2015, it will be held in Al Qassim, Al Qassem region is characterized by a number of architectural heritage sites, which are working to develop with partnership in the region of the municipalities and the local community and the private sector. The National Built Heritage Forum highlights this vision, emphasizes it and makes it into a national culture. If we were to seek to connect to all social segments, we must devote the scholarly/methodical dimension which reads and analyzes our built heritage.

HRH Prince Sultan Bin Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud
SCTH President
President of NBHC Center