NEW NEW NEW NEW NEW Silk Road Monuments Project
The Silk Road Monuments Project is a research and documentary project with a mission to record historically significant sites in Central Asia and Western China that are in imminent danger of destruction.
New economic development in Central Asia and Western China is transforming a region which has been left relatively untouched for the past 300 years. Ambitious developers plan to return Silk Road cities to their former glory, with hopes that these ancient trading posts will again become centers of commercial exchange and global business.
However, this indelicate drive to modernize is jeopardizing unique millennia-old urban and cultural centers. Traditional Silk Road centers of immense value to regional and world heritages are disappearing. The traditional trades, social networks, cultural practices, and arts within these communities may soon be lost as well. This ongoing process is not only endangering archaeological sites of immeasurable value to national and world heritage, but is also helping create modern social and cultural tensions.
Our organization is the only one of its kind dedicated to highlighting and documenting destructive change to ancient places along the Silk Road.
The Silk Road Monuments Project was formed in August 2011 by Kainoa Little and Yifei Zhang as a non-profit and apolitical organization to research, highlight, record, and document social, cultural, environmental, and economic transformation along the historical regions of the Silk Road.
During our time working at the EastWest Insititute (EWI), a strategic trust-building organization and think tank based in New York City, we recognized our common interest in investigating the links between the world’s often-forgotten historical regions and modern international affairs. Our past work on the complex interconnectedness of food, water, energy, and human security led us to believe in the great relevance of preserving history and traditions in dynamic regions of the world.
We pinpoint areas that are most often ignored by media and conservancy organizations, but nevertheless have a profound influence on the stability of key global regions. We believe that Central Asia and the Silk Road are areas most deserving of attention and which face some of the greatest transformative pressures.
Kainoa Little is a photographer and avid traveler. His past experiences have taken him to some of the world’s most lively regions including South Sudan, Jammu & Kashmir, southeastern Turkey and multiple regions across South Asia, Africa and South America. He has a background in conflict studies and international development. Kainoa received his BA from Lewis and Clark College in 2010 and has a working knowledge of Turkish.
Yifei Zhang has worked as an energy and geopolitics consultant to the UN and the Department of Homeland Security. His past research has taken him into coal mines in Xinjiang and Inner Mongolia. His writings on nuclear energy have featured in publications from the Federation of American Scientists. Yifei is currently writing a book on Chinese strategic culture and is a recent MA graduate of the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown and alumus of the University of Pennsylvania. He speaks Chinese and Japanese.