World Heritage Symposium

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Charleston UNESCO World Heritage Symposium

The Charleston UNESCO World Heritage Symposium, held August 19, 2015, covered a range of topics relating to Charleston’s rich history and the city’s forthcoming bid to be designated by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as a World Heritage Site. The event featured speakers from the international and local community discussing various aspects of Charleston history, as well as topics relating to the UNESCO mission and process for World Heritage designation. A panel of local preservation groups and sponsors, as well as a Question and Answer Session with members of the Charleston World Heritage Coalition Advisory Council included as part of the Symposium gave input. Speakers included Charleston Mayor Joseph P. Riley, Jr., Gustavo Araoz, president of the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) and World Heritage expert Bernd Paulowitz.
The three-day event was designed to evaluate Charleston’s global significance and draft bid for World Heritage designation. The two days were closed sessions, and included site visits, roundtable discussions and formal nomination recommendations by international academics and historians, leading UNESCO experts and historic preservation scholars from over six countries. 
Day 1 Schedule
Day 2&3 Schedule

Meet Our Panel

Gustavo Araoz

Gustavo Araoz is a preservation architect whose career combines professional practice, academia and institutional management. Araoz has a B.A. in architecture from the Catholic University of America and has also completed the International Architectural Conservation Program at the Paul Coremans Institute in Mexico. From 1995 to 2009, he served as the Executive Director of US/ICOMOS (International Council on Monuments and Sites). In 2002, he became Vice President for ICOMOS and ultimately President in 2008. From conservation theory to site management, Araoz has an extensive teaching background in preservation practices. He led an urban conservation studio while teaching at the University of Pennsylvania and University of Maryland and has taught internationally in Brazil and Argentina. Araoz has been involved in many World Heritage Site projects nationally and internationally. He served as consultant/advisor to the World Monuments Fund, the US Commission for UNESCO, the Getty Foundation, the Getty Conservation Institute, the National Park Service, US Departments of Defense and of State, the Organization of American States, the Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña, and national heritage agencies of Paraguay and El Salvador.

Christina CameronChristina Cameron

Christina Cameron currently serves as the President of the Canadian Commission for UNESCO and is a professor at the Université de Montréal, where she leads a research program on heritage conservation in the School of Architecture. For more than thirty-five years, Cameron has been involved in Canadian heritage preservation with Parks Canada. She has provided national direction for Canada’s historic places, focusing on heritage conservation and educational programs. Throughout her career, she has been involved in UNESCO and World Heritage, serving as Head of the Canadian delegation (1990-2008) and as Chairperson (1990, 2008). Additionally, she has chaired various international symposiums on strategic planning, cultural landscapes and global strategy for a representative World Heritage List, and spearheaded projects such as establishing a World Heritage Indigenous Peoples Council. In 2008, Cameron received the Outstanding Achievement Award, the highest recognition of the Public Service of Canada.

Alissandra CumminsAlissandra Cummins

Alissandra Cummins is a leading expert on Caribbean heritage, museum development and art. She has been a lecturer for more than fifteen years at the University of the West Indies and currently serves as the director of The Barbados Museum and Historical Society. Cummins was the first president of the Museums Association of the Caribbean from 1989-1992, served as the president of the International Association for Caribbean Archaeology from 1991-1995, and was the secretary on the Board of the Caribbean Conservation Association. Between 1998 and 2001, Cummins served as Chairperson of the Advisory Committee of the International Council of Museums. She has held various positions in UNESCO, including representative of Barbados on the Executive board in 1998 and 2009, as well as Chairperson of UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Committee for Promoting the Return of Cultural Property to its Country of Origin or its Restitution in Case of Illicit Appropriation (ICPRCP). In 2006, Cummins was recognized by UNESCO as one of “sixty eminent women who, in different parts of the world, in different positions and in different moments across the history of the Organization have made, and…are still making, significant contributions to the ideals and action of the Organization.”

Alexandra Kruse

Alexandra Kruse is an expert consultant in UNESCO World Heritage, specializing in agriculture, cultural landscapes and nature. Kruse is a member and/or co-founder of several scientific and social associations, and is founder and secretary general of EUCALAND, European Cultural and Agricultural Landscapes. In 1999, she received her PhD in Agriculture at the Christian-Albrechts University of Kiel and from 1999 to 2012, she served as director of the Bureau of Landscape and Services in Germany. Since 2010, she is one of the two directors of insitu World Heritage consulting ( As a director, Kruse is proficient in drafting Nominations, Management and Monitoring Plans and Tentative list applications, as well as organizing international meetings and conferences. Kruse has also led project management for and in cooperation with national and international organizations, universities and administrations, especially in Germany, Austria and France.

Monica Luengo

Mónica Luengo

Mónica Luengo is an historian and landscape architect. She serves as president of the Board of the International Scientific Committee on Cultural Landscape in Madrid, Spain, where her work highlights both natural and cultural landscapes that express the relationship between people and the natural environment. In 2012, Luengo spoke at an international thematic symposium in France titled “Cultural Landscapes of Agropastoralism” and recently, at the First European Conference for the Implementation of the UNESCO/SCBD (Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity) joint program intended to highlight the link between cultural and biological diversity. Luengo has published many works related to her expertise in the study of cultural landscapes.

Bernd PaulowitzBernd Paulowitz

Trained as an historian and political scientist, Bernd Paulowitz is a heritage and cultural information management consultant from Austria. Paulowitz is director of HisGIS, an historical and Geographical Information System (GIS) project, and currently serves as the international World Heritage consultant for the Charleston World Heritage Coalition. Paulowitz began his professional career at the UNESCO World Heritage Centre (WHC) in 1999 where he helped WHC carry out an analysis of the Operational Guidelines and the first retroactive inventory on the geographic information in the nomination files. As an expert on intangible and tangible World Heritage, he has also worked with or for other international organizations, such as ICOMOS, the Getty Institute, Gaia Heritage, Mihai Eminescu Trust and government administrations in Austria, Romania, France and Poland. Paulowitz has carried out several cartographic and GIS related works for UNESCO.

Dennis Rodwell

From the United Kingdom, Dennis Rodwell is recognized as a leading architect-planner specialist in the field of conservation and sustainability in historic cities. He received an architecture degree from the University of Cambridge with a special focus on conservation and regeneration in Western Europe. With the intention to promote the best practices in the management of historic cities and sites, Rodwell’s work in the field of cultural heritage has been published internationally. He has served government positions, such as conservation officer, urban designer, project manager and principal planner, and has also worked in private practice as a conservation architect. In addition, Rodwell serves as an international consultant in cultural heritage and sustainable urban development, and has provided consultation for the UNESCO World Heritage Centre and Division of Cultural Heritage, the German Agency for Technical Cooperation, the World Bank, the British Council and the United Kingdom Local Authority World Heritage Forum.

Peter H. Stott

Peter H. Stott, an industrial and architectural historian, is a graduate of Columbia University’s Historic Preservation Program. In the early 1990s, as a student at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, he was privileged to attend four World Heritage Committee sessions, reporting on the activities of the Committee through a nightly e-mail newsletter. In the decade between 1996 and 2006, Mr. Stott worked for UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre, initially on the World Heritage Information Network and the Centre’s first two generations of web pages. As registrar for new, incoming World Heritage nominations, he developed nomination “completeness” standards, as well as technical guidelines for serial (multi-property) nominations. He has published on both World Heritage issues and industrial history. His 2007 book, Looking for Work: Industrial Archeology in Columbia County, New York, was awarded a 2010 “Excellence in Historic Preservation Award” by the Preservation League of New York State.  His most recent work, published in the George Wright Forum between 2011 and 2013, is a three-part series of essays chronicling the US involvement in the 1972 World Heritage Convention, “The World Heritage Convention and the National Park Service.” Prepared at the request of the National Park Service’s Office of International Affairs on the occasion of its 50th anniversary, the essays examine the origins of the agency’s international activities in the 1960s, and the key role that it played guiding the World Heritage Committee in its first two decades. Currently Mr. Stott is a preservation planner in Boston at the Massachusetts Historical Commission, where he is directing the scanning of the SHPO’s statewide inventory of historic properties.




Sponsored by:

Charleston Area Convention & Visitor’s BureaucharlestonareaconventionandvisitorsbureauHistoric Charleston Foundationhistoriccharlestonfoundation

City of CharlestonCity of CharlestonBaird, Ziff Properties, Inc., Ravenel Sotheby’s