UK Ambassador to UNESCO talks World Heritage with students from Birmingham University

Students from the Ironbridge International Institute for Cultural Heritage (IIICH) World Heritage Studies MA met with the UK Ambassador to UNESCO, Matthew Sudders, on a university trip to its Paris Headquarters between the 16 and 19 February. The visit was the highlight of a four day tour of the city, which gave students from Birmingham University’s World Heritage MA a valuable opportunity to see The Seine World Heritage Site.

Others from UNESCO to welcome the group at its Headquarters included World Heritage Programme Specialists Alessandro Balsamo and Peter DeBrine; Deputy Director of the World Heritage, Mechtild Rossler; Cultural Heritage Programme Specialist Rochelle Roca-Hachem, and Administrator Hilary Izon. During the meeting students were instructed on conservation challenges, and the structure and limitations of the World Heritage Convention.

IIICH is a unique educational collaboration between UNESCO and Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site’s Museum Trust. Founded over three decades ago, the partnership combines its expertise in education and conservation to produce cross-disciplinary research in cultural heritage throughout the world.

The success of this unusual opportunity to meet with UNESCO heritage experts was reflected in student responses, with one writing “to hear presentations from key players, and to question and have discussions with them and with the other attendees was of immense interest, and highly useful in deepening my awareness of the infrastructure of the international heritage management sector […] the insights I gained will stay with me, and the learning has inspired my work in the sector.”