This workshop—held in Santiago, Chile, May 29 through June 3—was the first training activity of the Latin American Consortium, which consists of Latin American institutions committed to strengthening preventive conservation training in the region, and the GCI. The workshop was organized by the Escuela de Arte, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, and the GCI—as coordinators of Consortium activities related to emergency preparedness—and a working group that includes three other Chilean institutions responsible for cultural patrimony: Centro Nacional de Conservación y Restauración (a Consortium member), Consejo de Monumentos Nacionales, and Subdirección de Museos (Dirección de Bibliotecas, Archivos y Museos). Significant funding was provided by Fundación Andes, which supports educational, scientific, and cultural programs in Chile.

The goal of the workshop was to establish a network of people in Latin America who will develop and implement training activities in emergency preparedness, a crucial aspect of preventive conservation. The anticipated long-term result is increased protection of cultural patrimony in emergency and disaster situations. Some workshop sessions were devoted to demonstrating how the Internet can support communication and the sharing of didactic materials. Other sessions addressed teaching methodologies and tools, and included case studies and interactive exercises such as disaster simulations.

The 16 Chilean participants—selected from 7 of the nation's 13 regions—included archaeologists, architects, conservators, curators, museum directors, and regional directors of the Consejo de Monumentos Nacionales. This group will develop emergency preparedness and training on a regional basis. Eight other participants represented teams from Consortium institutions in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, and Cuba. These teams will be responsible for initiating a similar training process in their respective countries.

Workshop instructors included Wilbur Faulk and Valerie Dorge of the GCI and Flavia Muzio and Cecilia Beas of the Escuela de Arte, as well as Barbara Roberts and Jane Hutchins, U.S. conservators with considerable experience in emergency preparedness activities and training. In addition, speakers from key Chilean institutions responsible for civil protection and for cultural property were invited to provide participants with a view of emergency response at a national level. An exciting outcome of their participation was the strengthening of the initial collaborative steps undertaken between cultural institutions and civil defense groups.

The GCI will continue to collaborate with network members as they initiate the emergency planning process and training in their institutions, regions and countries.