UNESCO officials and senior officials from Tongji University
yesterday cut the ribbon on the first World Heritage Institute of
Training and Research, Asia Pacific (WHITR-AP), with China having
the honor of welcoming it.
Francesco Bandarin, director of the World Heritage Center (WHC)
under UNESCO, said that members of WHC had studied a feasibility
report by China of setting up such an institute, and China is now
the first country to have such as institute under the WHC.
Zhang Xinsheng, vice-minister of education and chairman of the
Executive Board of UNESCO, said: "Because protecting world heritage
sites is complicated and challenging, people working at the
China-based institute will do so in a multi-task way."
He said WHITR-AP will operate from three sub-centers - Shanghai,
Beijing and Suzhou.
Zhang said: "The Shanghai center will be responsible for
training in the protection of cultural heritage, Beijing, for
training in the protection of natural heritage, and Suzhou, for
training in the protection of endangered craftsmanship."
He said the three sub-centers will be based at universities -
Shanghai centre in Tongji University, Beijing, in Peking
University, and Suzhou, in Suzhou University, because of their
strong research and academic support.
Under the World Heritage Centre of UNESCO, there are three
organizations offering technological support.
They are the World Conservation Union (IUCN) for the protection
of natural heritage, the International Council on Monuments and
Sites (ICOMOS) for the protection of cultural heritage, and the
International Centre for the Preservation and Restoration of
Cultural Property (ICCROM) for the restoration of cultural heritage
Sources said WHITR-AP, as the fourth organization under the
World Heritage Centre, will provide a link between Asian,
especially Chinese experts, and foreign counterparts in the three
other organizations, as well and many foreign non-profitable
organizations with similar aims.
Bandarin said the major function of WHITR-AP in China is to
complement the activities of the World Heritage Centre by providing
capacity-building and research programs at the regional level in
Zhang said: "After it comes into operation, WHITR-AP's main
tasks will be organizing the educational and training programs for
professionals, especially those in Asian countries, and
co-operating with other research institutes in the region to
conduct in-depth studies on heritage sites."
WHITR-AP will also organize symposiums and meetings at both the
regional and international level, establish a comprehensive data
base and disseminate the research through publications.
(China Daily, May 22, 2007)