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February 2020 E-News
Welcome to "US/ICOMOS at Work," a monthly update on what US/ICOMOS is doing to preserve and promote world heritage and international knowledge exchange on preservation topics. We share these brief communications monthly with our members and supporters. Image: Chan Chan World Heritage Site, by CyArk in "Heritage on the Edge." Read more below.

ICOMOS Climate Change Working Group Launches
"Heritage on the Edge"

The ICOMOS Climate Change Working Group (CCHWG) has launched “Heritage on the Edge,” produced in partnership with Google Arts and Culture, CyArk, and local site managers. This project digitally documents and shares the stories of five World Heritage sites around the world experiencing the impacts of climate change: Rapa Nui National Park (Chile), Ruins of Kilwa Kisiwani and Ruins of Songo Mnara (Tanzania), Old and New Towns of Edinburgh (Scotland UK), Historic Mosque City of Bagerhat (Bangladesh), and the Chan Chan Archaelogical Zone (Peru).

Read more on our website here:

Please Support the 2020 International Exchange Program

Every year the US/ICOMOS International Exchange Program (IEP) sends young preservation professionals on three-month internships across the world. This year, a new class of emerging professionals needs your assistance to participate.

Please contribute now to help underwrite 2020 IEP Travel, Orientation, and Final Symposium group activities in Washington, DC.

Introducing our IEP Hosts:
World Heritage Office, City of San Antonio, Texas

Each year, organizations in the United States and all over the world host interns participating in the US/ICOMOS International Exchange Program. This commitment to historic preservation, international cooperation and the future brings big rewards to both intern and host.

The World Heritage Office of the city of San Antonio, Texas, served as an IEP host for the first time in 2019 and will host another intern again this summer in 2020. To get to know the World Heritage Office, San Antonio, we reached out to Executive Director Colleen Swain, who has led the Office since its inception in 2016.

What would you like our members to know about the San Antonio World Heritage Office and its many initiatives?

In 2015, San Antonio’s five Spanish colonial missions – Missions San José, San Juan, Concepción, Espada, and the world-renowned Alamo – were declared by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as a World Heritage Site. The Missions currently represent the only World Heritage Site in Texas, and one of 24 in the U.S. The UNESCO World Heritage designation is a catalyst for socio-economic change, with increased visitation and tourist spending.

To prepare for this increased activity and to maximize the benefits of the designation, the City of San Antonio created the World Heritage Office in 2016. This collaborative work plan, created with various partners, stakeholders, and community members, focuses on the following areas: management and oversight, infrastructure, wayfinding, transportation, beautification, economic development, land use, and marketing and outreach. The office promotes the San Antonio Missions, works to maximize the economic impact of the World Heritage designation and enhances the experience for visitors and residents through the implementation of this World Heritage Work Plan and related projects within the World Heritage Buffer Zone.

In 2017, San Antonio also joined the UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN) as a Creative City of Gastronomy. The UCCN was initiated in 2004 and aims to strengthen cooperation with and among cities that have recognized creativity as a strategic factor of sustainable development as regards economic, social, cultural, and environmental aspects. The network focuses on seven fields of creativity: Crafts and Folk Arts, Media Arts, Film, Design, Gastronomy, Literature, and Music. Currently, there are 246 cities across the world in this network, with nine of them in the U.S. San Antonio is one of only two U.S. cities and, as of this year, one of 36 cities worldwide in the gastronomy category. The World Heritage Office oversees the Creative City of Gastronomy designation for the City of San Antonio, and developed a strategic plan to strengthen and promote San Antonio’s culinary legacy as a confluence of cultures.

We also manage and program two historic cultural facilities, the Spanish Governor’s Palace and Mission Marquee Plaza. As a way to continuously engage the community with cultural and educational programming, the World Heritage Office plans and produces events throughout the year at these facilities and more that also promote both UNESCO designations.

What has been most rewarding to your organization about hosting an IEP intern? 

One of the most rewarding outcomes from hosting an IEP participant is the opportunity for our staff and local partners to establish a lifelong relationship with professionals in cultural heritage management. These emerging professionals provide an opportunity for an ongoing exchange of information and best practices worldwide. Additionally, we are happy they also serve as ambassadors for San Antonio, by sharing their experience and the work that we all do regarding advancing our communities through a balanced approach, leveraging our tangible and intangible cultural heritage assets.

Read the complete interview, continued on our website here:
Andrea Martinez (Spain) was the 2019 IEP intern in the San Antonio World Heritage Office. She is pictured above center, with two other IEP interns who were based in San Antonio (Melissa Chinaka and Anna Karla Almeira) and the many supportive staff who guided and worked with the IEPs. Thank you to San Antonio for your hospitality and continued support!

2021 U.S. Federal Budget Planning and National Historic Preservation Advocacy Week 

President Donald J. Trump submitted his fiscal year 2021 budget request to Congress on 10 February.
In a positive development for preservation, the administration seeks $7.4 million in funding for the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP). This would represent an almost 6 percent increase over the FY 2020 request of $7 million and is slightly above the final FY 2020 appropriation of $7.378 million.
“The President’s budget request is good news for the ACHP, supporting our mission of promoting the preservation, enhancement, and sustainable use of the nation’s diverse historic resources,” ACHP Chairman Aimee Jorjani said. “The funding will enhance our capabilities to work with agencies and stakeholders through an efficient and collaborative review process.”
Unfortunately, the president’s budget also proposes devastating cuts to federal humanities and history funding. These include elimination of the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, history and preservation programs at the National Park Service and federal K-12 history/civics and international education programs. To see a chart showing proposed budgets for agencies and programs affecting history archives and historic preservation click here.
Since congress ultimately controls appropriations, these budget requests are unlikely to be implemented. We encourage our members and friends to register for and attend Preservation Advocacy Week, 10-12 March 2020, in Washington, DC. This is our annual opportunity to impact Washington policy makers in support of critically important historic preservation programs and sound preservation policy.

Make Plans Now to Attend:
Smithsonian Cultural Rescue Initiative (SCRI)

  • "Current Approaches to the Conservation of Conflict-Affected Heritage"
  • Friday, 28 February 2020, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., at the Ring Auditorium, Hirshhorn Museum, Independence Ave and 7th St, Washington, DC

Click Here for More Information and to Reserve Your Ticket

Present day armed conflicts have resulted in damage, destruction, and theft of cultural heritage. This loss raises new and challenging questions to the fields of heritage preservation and conservation. Scholars and practitioners alike are working through these concerns in real time as they are faced with a moment of both real global crisis and great public attention about the post-conflict futures of heritage sites, museum collections, and cultural traditions.

This symposium brings together panelists who have each addressed conflict-affected heritage through collaborative interventions, developing on-the-ground responses, or conducting much needed basic scientific studies. Participants will discuss on-going cases from Ukraine, Afghanistan, Yemen, Syria, and Iraq as well as cutting-edge conservation approaches that show great promise in assisting the global effort to restore what has been damaged and recover what has been lost. 

Image: Smithsonian-Iraqi team prepares for the Nimrud Rescue Operation. Credit: Iraqi Institute for the Conservation of Antiquities and Heritage.

Call for Abstracts: Terra 2021 

Terra 2021 World Congress on Earthen Architectural Heritage will take place in Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA from June 8 – 11, 2021. Organized by the earthen architecture community under the aegis of ICOMOS, Terra 2021 is expected to draw up to 600 specialists in the fields of conservation, anthropology, archaeology, architecture and engineering, scientific research, site management, and sustainable development of earthen architectural heritage. 

The Call for Abstracts is now open and abstract submissions for oral presentations, posters, and video / digital media are currently being accepted. The deadline for submission is March 1, 2020. Abstracts must describe the content of the presentation, poster, video or media presentation in English or Spanish, and should be no longer than 300 words. Learn more here:

Invitation to share data on hidden heritage sites

Deadline: 2 March 2020
ICOMOS is working on the Google Arts and Culture-ICOMOS project to increase awareness of important endangered heritage sites. These sites may be endangered due to neglect, climate change, or other potential hazards and they are lesser known because they are not world heritage sites or on the nomination list. The Google Arts and Culture platform allows us to create immersive exhibits using photography and videos, expanding the appreciation for these hidden heritage sites under threat. 

We invite you to share high quality data collected on these hidden heritage sites (a site that is not a World Heritage site, not on the nomination list for World Heritage sites, and is under threat) and other sites that would help explain and illustrate the following important themes within ICOMOS:
  • Authenticity
  • Cultural Heritage as a Driver of Sustainable Development Goals
  • Our Common Dignity (rights issues in heritage management and promote good practices)
  • ICORP on the road
  • Indigenous Heritage (showcase indigenous perspectives - understand, respect, and include as part of best practices for conservation of cultural heritage).
For more information about data requirements, please email 

Make Plans Now to Attend: Past Forward 2020 National Historic Preservation Conference

Join more than a thousand fellow preservationists this October 28–30 in Miami to explore the themes Resilience and Relevance. You’ll hear from leading experts who will share case studies on topics such as resiliency planning, equitable development, and funding for preservation. The conference will also spotlight new partnerships, technology, and methods that are getting results. And you’ll learn cutting-edge approaches to making historic preservation relevant to those in your community. Learn how to maximize existing preservation tools and policies and discuss with peers what new methods, tools, and policies are needed for the field.

Sign up now for the conference update list to receive emails about registration, the agenda, special events, and more.

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US/ICOMOS is a US historic preservation nonprofit whose mission includes both supporting the UNESCO World Heritage program and promoting international exchange in the cultural heritage field. You can learn more about us at
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