Catherine Dumesnil was introduced to World Heritage in 1996, when she took up her post as technical advisor for culture at the French National Commission for UNESCO.
Since nobody was responsible for the World Heritage Convention at the Permanent Delegation of France, she was assigned this role from the Head of the Delegation. Her duties were more diplomatic than technical in nature, requiring her to supervise the smooth implementation of the Convention and the completion of nomination files. She participated in the majority of meetings of the Committee between 1996 and 2009. In 2006, she was appointed to the rank of knight in the order of Arts and Letters of France. In 2010, she became an advisor to the Delegation of the European Union to OECD and UNESCO in Paris.
The following audio excerpts are from an interview with Catherine Dumesnil by Christina Cameron and Mechtild Rössler the 25 November 2009 at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris. She shares her positive and optimistic vision of the World Heritage Convention, highlighting its great achievements. Aware of the challenges inherent in the Convention, she applauds the good work of the main actors involved in its implementation, including the Committee, the advisory bodies and the World Heritage Centre. Her extensive knowledge of the procedural aspects of the Convention and UNESCO’s Cultural programmes offers a global perspective on World Heritage issues.
Under the leadership of the Canada Research Chair on Built Heritage at the University of Montreal, an international team of researchers conducts interviews with pioneers of World Heritage to capture memories of important moments in the history of UNESCO Convention.
Launched in 2006, this initiative is part of the UNESCO History project that celebrated the 60th anniversary of the creation of UNESCO. The Oral Archives project records the precious witness of people closely associated with the creation and implementation of the Convention. Their recollections and views have greatly enriched the book by Christina Cameron and Mechtild Rössler, Many Voices, One Vision: The Early Years of the World Heritage Convention (Ashgate/Routledge, 2013).