Nara Narimanova ’23 MPPA , spent this past summer utilizing satellite data to document and preserve cultural sites in her war-torn home country of Ukraine. As part of her internship with the Smithsonian Cultural Rescue Initiative (SCRI), Nara has been able to support the Conflict Observatory satellite monitoring project to track and document damage to cultural heritage in Ukraine. Nara provides expertise about the Ukrainian language, political situation, and local cultural heritage norms and practices and advises the team to document war crimes. Cultural heritage in conflict is primarily protected by international law under the 1954 Hague Convention, which was adopted in response to the cultural destruction witnessed during World War II. The Convention, to which Ukraine is a member state, obligates State Parties to “respect” and “safeguard” cultural property in the event of armed conflict. Despite being in the US for school, Nara couldn't stand aside when Russia invaded Ukraine. SCRI proposed to Nara to continue with the team working with the Conflict Observatory satellite monitoring project part-time until the end of April 2023.
"When the full-scale war escalated, I wanted to do something for my country."
While Nara is currently pursuing her Master's degree from UMass as a Fulbright Scholar, she has worked in policy for many years. As a Program Officer for the international development organization, engaged marginalized groups, including women, youth, Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), and ethnic minority communities, in the political process of the decision-making process within the local governments. As an indigenous Ukrainian, Nara's focus on equality is personal.
"I'm going to do everything I can to help my country and my people."