Stéphane Bern, a renowned French-Luxembourgish journalist and a prominent heritage advocate, has won the Costa Carras European Citizens Awards for the Safeguard of Endangered Heritage for his exemplary work in raising awareness of the need to save heritage at risk in France and in the rest of Europe.

The Jury granted a newly established Silver Award jointly to two NGOs, Archilochos – Cultural Association of Paros (Greece) and Haydarpaşa Solidarity for Society, City and Environment(Türkiye), for successfully organising local citizens movements to promote and preserve their cultural and natural heritage.

The award ceremony was held on 10 April, within the framework of the Delphi Economic Forum in the presence of H.E. the President of the Hellenic Republic, Katerina Sakellaropoulou.

The Costa Carras European Citizens Awards for the Safeguard of Endangered Heritage was established in 2023 by Europa Nostra and Elliniki Etairia  – Society for the Environment and Cultural Heritage in memory of Costa Carras, an iconic champion of the protection of the environment and cultural heritage in Greece and Europe. The founding partners of the Awards are the A.G. Leventis Foundation, the Delphi Economic Forum and the EIB Institute. The awards are financed by the A.G. Leventis Foundation.

The Call for Entries 2024 received 22 applications from Belgium, Cyprus, France, Georgia, Greece, Italy, Norway, Serbia, Spain, Türkiye and Ukraine.

Upon receiving the award, Stéphane Bern commented: “For all heritage defenders, the name of Costa Carras evokes fifty years of tireless fighting in favour of historical heritage and its environmental setting in Europe. Vice-President of Europa Nostra and founder of ELLINIKI ETAIRIA, Costa Carras showed us how to protect and safeguard heritage which cannot continue to exist without the support of people. As a lover of Greece, where I have resided occasionally for twenty-four years, as an ardent defender of French heritage and as a European, I am very honoured to be awarded the Costa Carras European Citizens Award. It is a real encouragement to continue the action that I have been carrying out for seven years, at the request of the President of the French Republic and with the assistance of the Fondation du Patrimoine, to safeguard each year the nearly 120 monuments in danger that are reported by the public, who then participate in their restoration thanks to the Heritage Lottery that I was able to initiate with the Française des Jeux. To date, we have been able to select 875 monuments which are saved or are in the process of being saved. I therefore dedicate this Costa Carras Award to all of my compatriots who have realised that we are all collectively and individually custodians of historical heritage.

The Award’s Jury stated: “Stéphane Bern is a highly worthy laureate of the Costa Carras European Award owing to his steadfast dedication to conserving and championing Europe’s cultural heritage. Known as ‘Mr. Heritage” in France, Bern’s influential television programmes have spurred significant actions to protect heritage in his country. ‘Mission Bern’, a special mission entrusted to Stéphane Bern (acting in a purely voluntary capacity) and initiated by the Fondation du Patrimoine and supported by the Ministry of Culture, also included the creation of the innovative Heritage Lottery (Loto du Patrimoine), with the Française des Jeux which has helped direct funding and much-needed awareness to hundreds of heritage sites in France. Yet, Bern’s efforts extend beyond France, as he has raised awareness on a European and global scale through his many television programmes dedicated to European heritage. His tireless endeavours, culminating in the successful restoration of the former Royal and Military College of Thiron-Gardais, epitomise his profound impact on conserving endangered heritage.”

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