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50th anniversary conference on mentoring and World Heritage: Empowering African heritage professionals and improving gender equality

12-14 December 2022
Year 2 Bachelor Degree students from the College of African Wildlife Management (CAWM), commonly known as Mweka College - ready for hiking for a wilderness skills training at Kilimanjaro National Park World Heritage site. © Saleh Seif

A sub-regional celebration to mark the 50th anniversary of the 1972 World Heritage Convention will be held in the United Republic of Tanzania, from 12 - 14 December 2022.

This event is organized jointly by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism (MNRT) of Tanzania, the African World Heritage Fund (AWHF), Advisory Bodies to the World Heritage Convention, and selected higher learning institutions in Africa.

The event will also provide a platform for practitioners, experts, researchers, and academics to share experiences and building the capacity of young the next generation of heritage professionals.


In response to the call to empower African experts working for World Heritage, UNESCO in partnership with the AWHF, ICCROM, ICOMOS and IUCN launched the Mentorship Programme for African World Heritage Professionals on 16 February 2022.

This Mentorship Programme is developed to better capacitate African World Heritage professionals through mentorship and echoes the appeals from the UNESCO Member States to “Fostering cultural heritage and Capacity development’, supporting Africa to meet the 2015 African Union’s “Agenda 2063: The Africa We Want” and the Agenda 2030.

The Mentorship Programme is the first of its kind in Africa and brings innovation in building the capacity of African professionals in order to contribute to the implementation of the World Heritage Convention. The programme aims to ensure job opportunities for African experts in the field of World Heritage as well as to create a shared training and knowledge exchange platform between Culture and Natural heritage professionals in addition to building collaborative and cross-generational relationships between experts.

Video: Mentorship programme

Gender equality

Gender equality and Africa are two UNESCO Global Priorities. The gender dynamics of heritage have often been overlooked in heritage planning and development even though women play a crucial role in the conservation, management and promotion of World Heritage sites, especially in Africa. Their growing contribution, amid numerous global challenges, is invaluable, and ensuring their full participation will help heritage be more inclusive, resilient, and sustainable. Women have also been disproportionately affected by the pandemic crisis. According to the International Labour Organization, a greater proportion of them fell out of the labour market.

Equality and empowerment of all women is a goal of the 2030 Agenda and a driver of sustainable development. Therefore, the systematic integration of a gender perspective in the implementation and monitoring of all our programmes related to the 1972 Convention in Africa is vital, to ensure better management of natural resources, and the building of peaceful, just, and inclusive societies. This conference provides a good opportunity to reflect on this matter as well.

 UNESCO is taking this opportunity to lead an important discussion on Heritage education and innovative and gender-transformative approaches for gender equality and the empowerment of African women as heritage professionals. Also, The AWHF coordinated an expert meeting on 26-28 May 2022 in South Africa on the theme: “World Heritage in Africa: looking back…moving ahead”. The outcomes from the expert meeting will be factored into the meeting in Arusha.  The State party of the United Republic of Tanzania has generously offered to host this event in Arusha in December 2022.

    The conference will bring together diverse African heritage stakeholders to address the current challenges of capacity building and gender equality in the field of heritage in Africa. This is an occasion to showcase the innovative approach to empowering heritage professionals through mentoring. The discussions will focus on how to better institutionalise and sustain the capacity building programme and enhance gender perspective in order to fill the gap of heritage professionals through a network of universities and higher learning institutions in Africa and to achieve gender equality.

     Specifically, this international conference will aim to:

    • Provide a framework on how to upscale the mentorship programme and strengthen the capacities of practitioners and help the development of networks for the conservation and management of World Heritage.
    • Raise awareness of stakeholders as well as decisions and policymakers on the necessity to invest in the Mentorship Programme.
    • Propose a gender transformative approach to address gender disparities in access to Heritage education and Heritage employment.
    • Discuss the progress on the establishment of a Network of African Universities and higher learning institutes on heritage in Africa.
    • Increase cooperation between national heritage experts, site managers and academic institutions in strengthening regional cooperation and national capacities for the effective implementation of the 1972 Convention in Africa.

    Download the programme

    Learn more about our Mentorship Programme for African World Heritage Professionals here:

    Read the World Heritage Review on Gender:

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    Monday, 12 December 2022
    Wednesday, 14 December 2022

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