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US/ICOMOS Updates and Symposium

By Eleanor Mahoney May 31, 2018

The International Council on Monuments and Sites, commonly referred to as ICOMOS, is a non-government organization dedicated to the conservation of cultural heritage sites across the globe. Founded in 1965 and now headquartered in Paris, ICOMOS plays a critical role advising UNESCO on the designation and management of World Heritage Sites.

US/ICOMOS was the first of what now number 110 national committees that make up the larger ICOMOS alliance. It is a vital bridge linking preservation professionals in the United States with their counterparts in other countries, and also advises on inscriptions to the World Heritage List.

Over the past year US/ICOMOS has been quite busy. 2017 marked the first time in almost a decade that new additions were made to the US World Heritage Tentative List. The Moravian Bethlehem District in Pennsylvania was added, as was the Brooklyn Bridge in New York, along with several other sites.

The highly competitive International Exchange Program continued for another year, with 13 participants. One of the awardees, Joanna Aruda, shared excerpts from her research on the history of National Park Service international engagement in a piece for the Living Landscape Observer.

Brenda Barrett, LLO editor and US/ICOMOS board member, traveled to Delhi, India to participate in the Scientific Symposium at the 19th ICOMOS Triennial General Assembly held from December 11-15, 2017.  It featured a track titled a “Culture/Nature Journey” that highlighted how the recognition of the interconnected character of natural and cultural heritage is critical for the future of conservation.

In 2017, US/ICOMOS launched also launched KnowledgeExchange. It uses web and social media-based tools to help US preservationists and cultural resource managers solve preservation challenges. Be sure to take a look around the site.

To learn more about the accomplishments of US/ICOMOS take a look at the organization’s most recent annual report.

This summer, US/ICOMOS will also be losing the invaluable leadership of Executive Director William Pencek, who will be stepping down. Pencek has done a wonderful job as leader of the organization, building on his wide ranging experiences in heritage tourism, historic preservation, planning, and so much more.

Also, consider attending the 2018 US/ICOMOS Symposium in San Francisco. It is convened by US/ICOMOS in partnership with the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), UNESCO World Heritage Centre, National Trust for Historic Preservation, Presidio Trust, Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, Golden Gate National Recreation Area, and U.S. National Park Service.Check out the details. 

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