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// May 2016

Greetings ,

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Ephesus, Turkey


Working over the last 10 years to promote the concept of the UNESCO World Heritage list and the ideals behind this has given me many rewarding experiences but also led to many frustrations and rejections. Raising sponsorship money; organising exhibitions and publications; given public presentations and even contacting possible contributing photographers has resulted in many “What are you talking about? What is this world heritage thing? Why bother?” comments and blank looks.

I have been surprised by how many seemingly educated people were unaware of the World Heritage initiative and even how some of those who knew about the initiative cared little about it and general heritage conservation and preservation.

But today, this knowledge gap seems to be closing. Recently we have been talking to a wide range of people in a number of countries as we develop some new outlets for the OUR PLACE archive. There is a definite growing awareness of the issues and opportunities associated with World Heritage. It would be nice if this was all because of the work we in the WH community are doing to spread the positive message but unfortunately it's not. The wanton destruction of heritage sites and objects recently taking place in the Middle East has also has a major effect on global citizens as these nihilistic actions have attracted wide spread media coverage and the ensuing deserved global outrage.

The challenge now is to capitalise on this new awareness and goodwill towards preserving our collective global heritage. We should create imaginative but tangible ways that concerned citizens from the world’s diverse communities can help protect their local sites and appreciate those in more distant lands. Let us work to gain something positive and permanent from the negative actions of a few misguided individuals.

Geoff Steven

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