Launch of Phase 2 of the Mentorship Programme for African Heritage Professionals
In the framework of UNESCO’s Global Priority Africa (Flagship Programme 3: “Fostering cultural heritage and capacity development” ), the Mentorship Programme for African Heritage Professionals was developed in collaboration with the African World Heritage Fund (AWHF) and the three Advisory Bodies (ICOMOS, ICCROM and IUCN) to expand the roster of Africa experts and create opportunities for junior African practitioners to become heritage experts and be more involved in the World Heritage system.
During its extended 45th session last in September 2023, the World Heritage Committee adopted the first-ever Strategy for World Heritage Africa, which sets out clear targets with regard to capacity building, in line with UNESCO’s Operational Strategy for Priority Africa 2022-2029.
As per the Strategy, the Mentorship Programme aims to reach 60 mentees by 2025 and make sure that by 2029, each African country has at least 2 mentees empowered and engaged in the World Heritage system and given a chance to participate in the successful implementation of the 1972 World Heritage Convention in Africa.
On 30 October 2023, the UNESCO World Heritage Centre hosted the online launch of Phase 2 of the Programme. The event was opened by Mr Lazare Eloundou-Assomo, Director of World Heritage, who announced the engagement of a further 20 mentees as part of Phase 2, bringing the total number of mentored African heritage practitioners to 40. As of today, 35 African States Parties have at least 1 mentee engaged in the Programme, thanks to the financial support from the Governments of China and France.
The launch event was attended by more than 80 participants, including State Party representatives, partners from the AWHF and the ABs, members of high learning institutions and UNESCO Chairs in Africa, mentees and mentors of the Programme, and members of the Secretariat (Field Offices and HQ).