We Celebrate World Heritage Day

17 April 2012

MANILA, Philippines - Wednesday people around the world celebrate the rich diversity of heritage - their unique identity as people formed by centuries of history, geographic characteristics, and unique interactions with other groups of people, among others. It's World Heritage Day (WHD).

A joint Heritage Council/International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) Ireland Conference will be held at The Royal Irish Academy, in Dublin to mark the WHD celebrations. The conference, dubbed "Your Place or Mine," will explore new initiatives engaging communities and interpreting and presenting heritage, and will also celebrate International Day of Monuments and Sites 2012, the theme of which is "World Heritage and Sustainable Development: The Role of Local Communities."

Among the other activities and events worldwide are providing free admission to local heritage sites, organizing public talks or lectures on local heritage, mounting exhibits celebrating local heritage, awarding prizes to individuals who have made outstanding contributions to local heritage, inaugurating a restored monument or landmark, and getting children kids involved in tours and treasure hunts.

The origin of WHD can be traced back to April 18, 1982, when the ICOMOS organized a symposium in Tunisia where it was suggested that a special day be celebrated worldwide to mark "International Day for Monuments and Sites. The idea was also approved in UNESCO's General Conference on November 26, 1983. "International Monuments and Sites Day" has been traditionally called the World Heritage Day.

The world's heritage represents the unique identities and cultures of the various countries and peoples of the world. They are a source of pride and inspiration to every generation. Lately, earthquakes and other natural disasters, pollution, poaching, uncontrolled urbanization, and unchecked tourist development have posed major problems to World Heritage sites. It is for this reason that local and national communities are enjoined to actively take part in efforts to protect, preserve, and conserve local heritage that contribute to the rich and colorful global landscape. CONGRATULATIONS!