Cultural heritage, as understood by Central European University’s Cultural Heritage Studies Program, is the legacy of physical artifacts (cultural property) and intangible attributes of a group or society inherited from the past. Cultural Heritage is a concept which offers a bridge between the past and the future with the application of particular approaches in the present. Due to its attached values for these groups or societies, cultural heritage is maintained in the present and bestowed for the benefit of future generations. At the same time, the concept of cultural heritage developed as a result of complex historical processes and is constantly evolving.
The Cultural Heritage Studies Program combines theoretical and practical education, offering a variety of theoretical and methodological approaches with a strong emphasis on practical knowledge and skills based on fieldwork, and internships with local, regional and global heritage organizations.
Historical approach, present social relevance (policy and management), and the integration of cultural and natural heritage issues are the three pillars of the program.
The program offers a global viewpoint within local Central European heritage contexts (capital of culture, World Heritage sites, urban environmental imperatives, local issues of conflicting interests)
One of the principles CEU is based on is respect for the diversity of cultures and peoples. As the University attracts students and faculty from 100 countries from around the world, it is an ideal host of a cultural heritage program dealing with disparate traditions, practices and social interactions.
General aspect of the program
Heritage is a contemporary activity with far-reaching effects. Most important, it is the range of contemporary activities, meanings, and behaviors that we draw from them. Activities related to cultural heritage are complex and they represent deliberate acts from the present for the future taking into account various aspects of the past. Traditionally these activities are described as Preservation or Conservation, but more recently they are integrated into the framework of management or the context of policies. Therefore, they can take the form of different and complex approaches or acts. Heritage can be an element in far-sighted urban and regional planning. It can be the platform for political recognition, a medium for intercultural dialogue, a means of ethical reflection, and a potential basis for local economic development. It is simultaneously local and particular as well as global and shared.
Changing social and economic trends require expert training, flexible enough to keep up with the challenges of heritage environments, which are in continuous flux. Cultural heritage activities should be always based on academic research of historical, social and environmental aspects of the conservation and reservation. Therefore academic fields related to various aspects of cultural heritage (archival studies, archeology, art history, anthropology, history, literary studies, etc.) form a crucial element of the master program. There is also a need for project managers, experts in regional and sustainable development extending across frontiers: individuals who are able to tackle challenges, even resolve financial issues in project development but, at the same time, remain sensitive to the need to preserve knowledge for future research.