The College of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (CALA) at University of Minnesota, USA, has established a Center for World Heritage Studies to undertake research and service projects in partnership with UNESCO World Heritage Centre (WHC).  The objectives of this partnership are embodied in an agreement (MoU) between CALA and WHC signed on December 6, 2004.

The CALA Center for World Heritage Studies is committed to research and education for the protection, conservation and enhancement of cultural and natural World Heritage.  Its mission is to undertake this work as a partner to WHC in its promotion of the 1972 UNESCO Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage. To further these goals, the Center works in concert with WHC priorities to:

  • encourage collegial and institutional collaboration in all appropriate areas of World Heritage Studies,
  • promote educational programs, symposia, and experts meetings to advance the knowledge, value and protection of World Heritage, and
  • conduct research projects and outreach services to identify, inventory, analyze, evaluate and aid in inscription and management of World Heritage Sites, in concert or at the request of States Parties.

The scope of the Center's current wave of activities includes education toward conservation management as appropriate within the guidelines and priorities established in the agreement.  These projects provide opportunities for faculty and graduate students from the United States and internationally to participate in research projects with global and cultural perspectives. Research projects will work on new definitions of heritage significance and management. The Center will provide services to State Parties with emerging heritage planning and management resources, especially in Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe. One focus of the work will be on potential sites for World Heritage inscription. Another will be to address problems with inscribed sites that are on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

A current project underway is the inventory of historic structures and establishment of a management plan for the Ischerisher Historic Center of Architectural Reserve within the Walled City of Baku, Azerbaijan.  The purpose of this project is to assist the State Party and local authorities in their efforts to remediate management problems with a view to help remove this site from the List of World Heritage in Danger.  This and other projects of the Center are led by its founding Director, Professor Arthur Chen, Architecture Department, CALA, and are supported by CALA faculty, administrative staff and students.

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