Symposium World Heritage Experts

The Charleston UNESCO World Heritage Symposium, taking place August 19th, will cover a range of topics relating to Charleston’s rich history and the city’s forthcoming bid to be designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. The event will feature speakers from the international and local community.


Meet our World Heritage Experts

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.

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Charleston UNESCO World Heritage Symposium

Event: Charleston UNESCO World Heritage Symposium

Who: Charleston World Heritage Coalition, Mayor Joseph P. Riley, Jr.

When: Wednesday, August 19, 2015, 9:00am to 5:00pm

Where: Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim Synagogue, 90 Hasell Street, Charleston

Cost: Free

Contact: Brittany Lavelle Tulla


                  (732) 996-7745


Free and open to the public, the Charleston UNESCO World Heritage Symposium will cover 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 will feature 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. There will be 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. Speakers throughout the day include Charleston Mayor Joseph P. Riley, Jr., Gustavo Araoz, president of the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) and World Heritage expert Bernd Paulowitz. August 19th is the first day of a three-day event designed to evaluate Charleston’s global significance and draft bid for World Heritage designation. The following two days are closed sessions, and will include site visits, roundtable discussions and formal nomination recommendations by international academics and historians, leading UNESCO experts and historic preservation scholars from over six countries.

The mission of Charleston World Heritage Coalition is to have Charleston’s historic significance recognized internationally through its designation as a UNESCO World Heritage Site – the greatest historic designation in the world. The organization was founded in 2013 with the sole purpose of producing the UNESCO World Heritage designation application.



9:00am: Welcome, Rabbi Alexander, KKBE
9:15am: Mayoral Address, Mayor Joseph P. Riley, Jr.
9:30am: Introduction of Symposium and Charleston’s Global Significance, Brittany Lavelle Tulla, Acting Executive Director, Charleston World Heritage Coalition
9:45am:Introduction to UNESCO World Heritage, Alexandra Kruse, insitu World Heritage Consulting
10:15am: Refreshment Break
10:45am: Introduction to World Heritage in the United States, Gustavo Araoz, President, International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS)
11:00am: Charleston:  A Leader, Robert N. Rosen, lawyer and published Charleston historian
11:45am: A Comparison: The Value of Charleston as Compared to other Cities and Current World Heritage Sites, Bernd Paulowitz, insitu World Heritage Consulting
12:30pm: Break

1:30pm: Vernacular, Picturesque, and Reminiscent, The Cultural Significance of the Architecture of Charleston and the Lowcountry, Jonathan Poston, former member of US/ICOMOS Board of Trustees and Sr. Director of Properties and Hay House Director, The Georgia Trust

2:15pm: The Cultural Influence of Rice in Charleston, Jane M. Aldrich, Executive Director, Lowcountry Rice Culture Project

3:00pm: Break

3:15pm:  Panel Discussion with Local Affiliates and Sponsors, featuring Historic Charleston Foundation, College of Charleston, Daniel Ravenel Sotheby’s International Realty and Jonathan Green

4:15pm: Panel Discussion and Q&A with International World Heritage Experts

5:00pm: Closing Remarks, Brittany Lavelle Tulla, Acting Executive Director, Charleston World Heritage Coalition

You can find more information about this event and our Expert Panel bios on the Symposium page.


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Coalition Member Spotlight – Charleston Area Convention & Visitors Bureau

Coalition Member Spotlight – Charleston Area Convention & Visitors Bureau

Charleston World Heritage Coalition is comprised of businesses and organizations that are passionate in declaring that Charleston holds “Outstanding Universal Value to Humanity”, and therefore deserves the honor of this World Heritage designation. Each week, we will give you the opportunity to get to know a proud member of our growing Coalition.

Want to become a part of this thriving community of Charlestonians? Simply click here and join us!

There is no membership fee to join.

Dan Blumenstock, Chairman of the Charleston Area Convention & Visitors Bureau Board of Governors

How long has the Charleston Area Convention & Visitors Bureau had a presence in Charleston? 

The CACVB was established in 1985.

What do you personally love most about living in Charleston?

Charleston offers a quality of life that usually isn’t found in comparably sized cities. We have abundant cultural and recreational opportunities typically found only in much larger metropolitan areas. 

Why is the Charleston Area Convention & Visitors Bureau passionate about World Heritage designation for Charleston?

We believe Charleston’s unique blend of European and African influences  – reflected in the music, art, architecture and foodways of our region – is very deserving of this designation.  From a tourism perspective, designation as a World Heritage site further brands Charleston as a place that is truly worth visiting.

Thank you Dan and the Charleston Area Convention & Visitors Bureau Board for all of your support!

Coalition Member Spotlight – Daniel Ravenel Sotheby’s International Realty

Coalition Member Spotlight – Daniel Ravenel Sotheby’s International Realty

Charleston World Heritage Coalition is comprised of businesses and organizations that are passionate in declaring that Charleston holds “Outstanding Universal Value to Humanity”, and therefore deserves the honor of this World Heritage designation. Each week, we will give you the opportunity to get to know a proud member of our growing Coalition.

Want to become a part of this thriving community of Charlestonians? Simply click here and join us!

There is no membership fee to join.

Ruthie Ravenel, Sales and Marketing Director and Daniel Ravenel Sotheby’s International Realty

How long has Daniel Ravenel Sotheby’s International Realty had a presence in Charleston? 

Daniel Ravenel started Daniel Ravenel Real Estate in 1983 as the sole agent of his small company. Since that time, the company has grown to nearly 30 agents over its 30+ years serving the Charleston Area.  With a reputation built on client service, local expertise, and integrity, the company was approached to join the Sotheby’s International Realty brand and signed on in 2007. Since that time, we have built a strong international presence through the Sotheby’s International Realty brand which builds on our local expertise, bringing Charleston to the national and international stage.

Why is Daniel Ravenel Sotheby’s International Realty passionate about World Heritage designation for Charleston? 

Daniel Ravenel Sotheby’s International Realty is passionate about bringing Charleston, SC to the world. We know that our city is one of the most unique places in the United States, but having the honor of  UNESCO World Heritage designation to reinforce this would truly be the jewel in Charleston’s crown. With its European and historic feel, the city center truly exhibits an old world character which makes it an amazing place to live and work. Its history makes it a lovely place to visit, but its continuing vibrancy and community engagement is what makes it a wonderful place to live. The historic traditions of our city’s culture of inclusiveness and community engagement are alive and well in Charleston’s streets today, and we delight in introducing new residents to this unique society.  Our company not only sells beautiful real estate, but we also pride ourselves in introducing the city of Charleston and its surrounding areas to an international audience. 

What do you personally love most about living in Charleston?

I love the diversity of activities and landscapes that Charleston’s culture and civic environment provides. One can attend a chamber music performance or black tie gala, shuck oysters by hand on the marsh front, view a local artists painting on a downtown street, enjoy barbecue and bluegrass music under ancient oak trees, or indulge in a cocktail and fine dining en plein air. Charleston offers something for every taste and inclination, and its vibrant culture and citizenry reinforce this diversity every day. With this sort of cosmopolitan mix and unique Lowcountry flavor, it is no wonder Charleston gets visitors from across the US and the world.

Thank you to Ruthie and to Daviel Ravenel Sotheby’s International Realty for your support!

Board Member Spotlight – Gray Coulton

Board Member Spotlight – Gray Coulton

Gray Coulton, Senior Vice President at Baird

How long has Baird had a presence in Charleston? 

We opened our office in 2010.

What do you personally love most about living in Charleston?

I love the fact that Charleston offers almost everything you’d expect from a large, multi-cultural city, but within the confines and culture of a small town. Charleston is a naturally friendly city. People say hello to you, whether it’s on the streets, in restaurants or in shop.  People are proud of Charleston.  There is, in general, an awareness of the history of Charleston and its place within the fabric of American history, and they are proud of that.  I think that was shown broadly in the way the city reacted to tragic events earlier this year.  At the same time, Charleston offers tremendous access to the arts, to great restaurants, and more and more, to modern businesses, including advanced and developing technologies. I’m not sure there is another city quite like it in the U.S.

Why is Baird passionate about World Heritage designation for Charleston?

I believe Charleston deserves a World Heritage designation both as a city of social and historical significance, but also as a nexus for future growth.  It signifies the city’s heritage, its promise for the future and its citizens ongoing commitment to both. Charleston occupies an extremely important, and unique, place in American history.  It’s early days required resourcefulness to promote growth in the face of significant obstacles.  Over time, the blending of many diverse cultures and influences essentially made Charleston the heart of the American south. While well known for its views on independence, it also has a history of democratic thinking and religious tolerance, a history that is intrinsically entwined with the nation’s own development and growth.  Our firm, Baird, decided to join this initiative as a major sponsor not only because of our own deep roots in the city, a number of our employees have lived here for decades, but because we firmly believe in Charleston’s future importance.  It is an incredibly desirable place to both visit, and to live.  As the city continues to expand and grow, the World Heritage designation will continue to remind everyone of our shared history, and the importance of maintaining those qualities of openness, tolerance, and resourcefulness that have been instrumental in Charleston’s development.  It will be an inspiration for future generations in Charleston.

 Thank you to Gray and to Baird for all of your support!


CWHC Donation and Signature Drive

CWHC Donation and Signature Drive

Charleston World Heritage is pleased to announce our partnership with some of our favorite local businesses to further promote the efforts of CWHC. By signing the petition, you are showing your support for Charleston to be become a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In addition to the signatures, CWHC also needs to raise funds to complete the entry process. Anyone that signs the petition or makes a donation will be entered to win a fabulous gift bag with goodies from some of our favorite Charleston businesses. Take a fabulous City Tour of Charleston courtesy of Charleston Ventures, and enjoy a lovely dinner at Leaf Restaurant. Attend an Artists Lecture hosted by the Gibbes Museum of Art, receive a beautiful weekender bag from Proud Mary filled with gifts from Charleston’s favorite toy store for kids and adults Wonder Works, J. Stark, King Bean Roaster, and Carolina Coasters!

If you sign the petition AND donate you will receive two additional entries into the contest!

Share the petition on your social media and receive an extra entry! Donate, sign, and share for up 4 entries!

Twitter: @ChasWorldHeritage

Instagram: @CHSWorldHeritage



CWHC Gift Bag Contents 

– City Tour for two from Charleston Ventures, rated #1 on Trip Advisor 

– 2 Tickets to an Artist Lecture by Nancy Braithwaite, followed by a reception hosted by the Gibbes Museum of Art at the Charleston Library

– Weekender Bag from Proud Mary

– $100 Gift Card from Leaf Restaurant

– $50 Gift Card from Wonder Works

– Leather Wallet from local maker J. Stark

– Coffee Beans from King Bean Roaster

– Set of Coasters from Carolina Coasters

– Charleston Hooker Grilling Tool from Wonder Works


Winner will be chosen on August 15th!

Don’t forget to share on social media “Why you love Charleston” #ourcharleston

Use these images to show your support on social media!

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New York Times Features Mayor Riley

New York Times Features Mayor Riley

The New York Times touted Mayor Riley to be the most loved politician in America! We adore Mayor Riley and greatly appreciate his support of the CWHC.  Read Frank Bruni’s piece and consider joining our coalition today!

CHARLESTON, S.C. — The custom here is for a mayor’s portrait to be hung in the City Council chamber only after he leaves office. But in 2007, folks got tired of waiting for Joe Riley to make his exit, and he was put on the wall while still on the job. He’d been running Charleston for more than 31 years.

It’s almost 39 at this point: a period long enough that he can’t remember the color of his hair, now white, when he first took office, in December 1975.

“Brownish-blond, I guess?” he said.

It’s equally hard for many people to recall what Charleston looked like back then. Its center wasn’t the beautifully manicured, lovingly gentrified showpiece it is today. That transformation helps explain why voters have elected Riley 10 times in a row. They adore the man, or at least many of them do, as I witnessed firsthand when I ambled around town with him last week. More than once, someone spotted him — he vaguely resembles Jimmy Stewart, only lankier — and then followed him for a few blocks just to shower him with thanks. READ MORE 

Baird Foundation Make Generous Donation to CWHC

Baird Foundation Make Generous Donation to CWHC

Baird’s Charleston branch, along with Baird Foundation, have both made generous donations in support of Charleston’s effort to obtain a World Heritage Designation. The Charleston World Heritage Coalition (“CWHC”) is also pleased to announce that Senior Vice President of Baird, Gray Coulton, has been selected to serve on the Board of Directors for the Coalition. CWHC recognizes Gray Coulton’s commitment in helping Charleston become a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

“Baird has always taken great pride in forging close community ties, and as a firm we are committed to Charleston”, stated Gray Coulton, Baird Senior Vice President. “Participating in this coalition effort, which we see as highly beneficial to Charleston’s future, is something we are proud to be a part of.”

Charleston World Heritage Coalition is a non-profit whose goal is to put Charleston on the prestigious list of World Heritage Sites, the greatest honor a place can achieve. World Heritage status will enhance the Charleston community intellectually, financially, and spiritually. The city will be a more interesting, exciting, and diverse place as a result of the great people, industries, organizations and institutions that World Heritage status will attract. World Heritage provides an opportunity for greater learning and a higher quality of life for current and future residents of Charleston.

Baird has a long-standing tradition of giving back to the communities in which its associates live and work, both on a corporate and individual level. In 2013, Baird Foundation provided more than $2.9 million in support to charitable organizations.

About Baird

Baird is an employee-owned, international wealth management, capital markets, private equity and asset management firm with offices in the United States, Europe and Asia. Established in 1919, Baird has more than 2,900 associates serving the needs of individual, corporate, institutional and municipal clients. Baird has more than $100 billion in client assets. Committed to being a great place to work, Baird ranked No. 9 on FORTUNE’s 100 Best Companies to Work For in 2014 – its 11th consecutive year on the list. Baird’s principal operating subsidiaries are Robert W. Baird & Co. in the United States and Robert W. Baird Group Ltd. in Europe. Baird also has an operating subsidiary in Asia supporting Baird’s investment banking and private equity operations. For more information, please visit Baird’s Web site at

Charleston’s World Heritage Bid Taking Shape

Charleston’s World Heritage Bid Taking Shape

A high-ranking official from the Commonwealth of the Bahamas might seem an unlikely person to help chart the future course of Charleston’s historic preservation efforts, but Davidson L. Hepburn has worn many hats. As president of the United Nation’s 35th General Conference, Hepburn could offer key advice and support to those hoping to make Charleston the first American city placed on the United Nations’ World Heritage List.

Hepburn, who currently chairs the Antiquities, Monuments and Museums Corp. of The Bahamas, is in town this week and has been kept very busy. The idea for his visit took root because of a chance meeting with Lowcountry resident Rusty Denman at a church in the Bahamas. Shortly afterward, the Charleston World Heritage Coalition – the new nonprofit hoping to get the city recognized as a World Heritage Site – invited Hepburn as its guest. Hepburn’s informal visit will raise awareness of the Charleston World Heritage Coalition, and he could offer advice as the coalition’s application takes shape.

The United Nations currently recognizes 981 world heritage sites, including the Taj Mahal, the Pyramids of Giza and Machu Picchu. But the United States has only 21 of them – mostly federally owned landmarks, such as the Statue of Liberty, the Grand Canyon and Yosemite National Park. That’s partly because Congress passed a law forbidding any World Heritage application without the consent of 100 percent of the property owners, a hurdle that so far has prevented any of the United States’ historic districts from making the list.

Local preservationists had been discouraged from applying because of the daunting task of convincing every homeowner in the district, but this new attempt will knit together about 20 prominent civic and religious buildings.

To enlist Hepburn’s help, organizers pulled out all the stops, with a series of dinners in private homes, special tours, a Spoleto performance and meetings with Charleston Mayor Joe Riley, U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel, artist Jonathan Green and others. Hepburn and his wife, Dr. Ada Thompson-Hepburn, met Thursday evening with Historic Charleston Foundation Director Kitty Robinson, Preservation Society of Charleston Chairman Kristopher King and others. The hour-long discussion ranged from keeping the city’s neighborhood authentic to managing tourism to the political challenges of getting designated as a World Heritage Site.

Hepburn offered encouraging words and said Charleston is well on the road to getting listed. “The only thing I can say is for you not to get discouraged,” he said. “It’s going to happen.” Thompson-Hepburn said she has been impressed to see Charleston for the first time. “It’s just wow, wow, wow, wow for 24 hours,” she said.The city’s preservation ethic also is stronger than anything found in their home country, Hepburn said. “In the Bahamas, people just tear down anything, and they tear them down to make parking lots,” he said. “I know you have some ideas I can take back to Nassau and put into play.”

The Charleston World Heritage Coalition hopes to send off its detailed application to the National Park Service within a few years. When deemed worthy, the application then would be forwarded to the United Nations’ Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, known as UNESCO, which ultimately would vote to accept it, turn it down, or refer it back to the United States for revision. That process could take several more years. Those working on Charleston’s World Heritage application say their success would demonstrate Charleston’s excellent quality of life and help attract investment of talent and industry as well as grant money for our cultural and religious institutions.