Emerging Professionals Network


The Emerging Professionals Network of World Heritage USA is a community of young professionals who care about heritage and want to grow their careers. World Heritage USA aims to support their professional growth by connecting them with job, internship, and funding opportunities, as well as webinars, conferences, networking events, and more!

Join Us!

Emerging Professionals

Are you an Emerging Professional looking to grow your career in the heritage field? Join the World heritage USA Emerging Professionals Network! The EPN is a forum for young and emerging professionals to gather, learn, and network. We hope to create programs to help EPs gain exposure to salient issues in cultural preservation and advance their careers in various ways including:

  • Conferences and events aimed specifically for Emerging Professionals
  • Mentorship opportunities (as a mentor or mentee)
  • Volunteering opportunities within World Heritage USA and ICOMOS-USA

Fill out this survey if you are interested in connecting with other Emerging Professionals and wish to receive information about future opportunities!

Follow us on LinkedIn to receive live updates on jobs / internships, scholarships / funding, conferences, webinars, networking events, and more!

Established Professionals

Interested in passing on your tips and tricks learned through years of experience to the next generation of Heritage Professionals? World Heritage USA is interested in creating mentorship opportunities for Emerging Professionals, and we would love to work with you!

If you are interested in mentoring emerging professionals, please complete this survey.

Past Events

Emerging Professionals Networking Event, 8 pm EDT/ 5 pm PDT, 7 June 2022

Please join us to hear from and meet Emerging Professional leaders in the heritage field!

Register now to network with your peers at 8 pm EDT / 5 pm PDT on Tuesday, 7 June 2022. The event will feature speakers from the ICOMOS Emerging Professionals Working Group (Zoe Leung), ESACH (Riley Marshall), Africa World Heritage Fund (Roxanne Skosana) and the World Heritage USA International Exchange Program (2021 IEP Alumni). Each five-minute talk will be followed by networking breakout sessions.

ICOMOS Emerging Professionals Working Group Africa-US Collaboration

Interdisciplinary Working Group on Heritage and Climate:
Lessons from Africa to Americas: Cultural Heritage for Climate Action, Adaptation, and Resilience

Date: Two virtual convenings (not webinars) in April and October (dates TBD)
Project co-leads: Olufemi Adentunji, EPWG Africa Region and Zoe Leung, EPWG U.S.

Various forms of knowledge about climate change and its impacts have been developed across local, national, regional, and international scales, demonstrating an increased awareness of the climate risks communities are facing. Over the past decades, stakeholders have developed organizations, guidelines, and policies (such as IPCC and the Paris Accord) to address the impacts of climate change. However, there is an urgent need to translate these findings and guidelines into actionable steps to address climate impacts on heritage and communities as well as to mainstream, accelerate, and scale up adaptation and resilience.

For the 2022 International Day for Monuments and Sites with the theme of “Heritage and Climate,” discussions to link cultural heritage to climate action and resilience are more important than ever. Building on the U.S.-Africa intergenerational dialogue in 2021 on heritage and society, this year’s cross-disciplinary working group seeks to contribute to the climate conversation through building synergies and collaboration between culture, science, and economics, with a focus on emerging professionals, for climate adaptation and action. This knowledge-building project, drawing from expertise and experience from Africa and the U.S., would place heritage at the center of achieving climate goals.

Countries in Africa are home to many heritage sites rooted in the culture and identity of various communities. They are also among the most vulnerable to climate change and are demonstrably least capable to adapt and build capacity for resilience. In essence, Africa is at a tipping point despite the development and progress made over the decade to address climate change impacts. In the United States, climate risks to cultural heritage are unevenly distributed. Following four years of U.S. absence from the global climate community, there is a renewed effort to not only promote climate policy and research that ensure the protection of heritage and tradition but also leverage the potential of heritage for climate actions.

The initiative is led by ICOMOS EPWG representatives from the U.S. and the Africa region (Zoe Leung and Olufemi Adentunji), to support intergenerational exchanges critical to safeguarding and promoting heritage. The working group will comprise three cross-disciplinary emerging professional members and a mentor each from the U.S. and the African region. The group will meet twice in 2022, in April and October, with the first convening taking place on April 25. Emerging Professional members will be recruited through Expression of Interest (EOI), which will be disseminated to various networks.

International Underground Railroad Month | Network to Freedom

September 2021

The National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom acknowledges the significance of the Underground Railroad, and all those involved, for its contribution to the eradication of slavery in the United States and as a cornerstone of the more comprehensive civil rights movement that followed.

The Underground Railroad extended beyond the borders of the United States of America. Between the 18th and 19th centuries, Freedom Seekers found refuge in many places, including Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, Central and South America, Europe, and Africa. World Heritage USA and ICOMOS Canada acknowledge and celebrate the enduring legacy of the Underground Railroad.

World Heritage USA is partnering with other ICOMOS National Committees to seek out exact places where those who self-liberated settled and the stories of their lives in these places.

In Spring 2021, the U.S. National Park Service’s National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom staff requested that World Heritage USA partner with them to expand the context of the Underground Railroad to an international scope. Our Emerging Professional Network (EPN) agreed to assist. EPN member Kaitlin Paecklar, with assistance from President Douglas Comer, EPN Chair Zoe Leung and staff, will oversee World Heritage USA’s efforts to:

  • Promote and celebrate International Underground Railroad Month in September 2021,
  • Expand the U.S. National Park Service’s National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Mapping Project to include international sites outside the United States, and
  • Engage international partners in the initiative.

World Heritage USA thanks the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Program for reaching out to document the international context of the Underground Railroad and take note of its inclusion on the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) Sites of Memory designations. Click on the links to learn more about the Underground Railroad, the Network to Freedom, and the U.S. Underground Railroad Mapping Project.

World Heritage USA recognizes the State of Maryland for providing the catalyst for enriching Underground Railroad history and in recognizing of all those involved in the Underground Railroad, including Maryland’s courageous Harriet Tubman, the brilliant orator Frederick Douglass and thousands of Freedom Seekers.

World Heritage USA recognizes the United Nation’s Decade for People of African Descent as an important opportunity to commemorate the traumatic experiences and exceptional contributions of people of African descent to the Americas.

International Underground Railroad Month provides an opportunity for world-wide open dialogue that illuminates the hopes that arise from freedom for all people.

Celebration of International Underground Railroad Month

September is International Underground Railroad Month. The State of Maryland selected September as International Underground Railroad Month because September is the month when Freedom Seekers Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass self-liberated.

  • September 1, 2021: Virtual event to celebrate International Underground Railroad Month and the sister sites of Josiah Henson Museum (North Bethesda, Maryland, USA) and Uncle Tom’s Cabin Historic Site (Dresden, Ontario, Canada).
  • September 1-30, 2021: Exhibition to celebrate International Underground Railroad Month and acknowledging the ties between the United States and Canada at the Wilson Center.

International Context of the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom

World Heritage USA seeks to collect, connect, and share information and stories about Freedom Seekers who self-liberated, the places where they settled, and the stories of their self liberation.

Plans for 2021

  • September 2021: World Heritage USA is launching a GeoForm to collect information about people and sites associated with the Underground Railroad Network to Freedom.
  • World Heritage USA and the U.S. National Park Service’s National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Program are partnering to create a StoryMap with the information that was collected from the GeoForm.
  • World Heritage USA, thr U.S. National Park Service
  • the U.S. National Park Service’s National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Program and other partners are partnering to plan a webinar or webinar series to share information collected from the GeoForm and StoryMap project.

How to share your story:

Step 1:    GeoForm

  1. Click on the link or the QR Code
  2. Fill out the form

Please provide information about the significance by writing about one of the following topics:

  • Experiences enslaved people faced on their journey to freedom
  • How enslaved populations impacted broader history
  • Why is it important to tell these stories?
  1. Click Submit

Step 2:    StoryMap

  1. A representative from World Heritage USA will contact you to request help with translating your story into English and/or the language of your country and, if necessary, for more information.
  2. The U.S. National Park Service’s National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Program will feature one example telling the story of enslaved people, or communities, including a picture. An approximate location such as city and state of where the community/ person lived or settled should be provided to give context for this international movement.

Step 3:    Lecture, Lecture Series, Conference or Conference Series: under development; more information will be provided later.

Partner with World Heritage USA

World Heritage USA seeks partnerships with other ICOMOS National Committees to establish the international context of the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom. The focus areas include:

  • Raising awareness about the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom.
  • Promoting September as International Underground Railroad Month.
  • Collecting, mapping, sharing, and translating information about exact places where Freedom Seekers self-liberated and settled and the stories of their lives in these places.
  • Developing “Sister Sites” between and among sites that share a common pattern of history.

World Heritage USA has secured cooperative commitments from three ICOMOS national committees–Canada, The Netherlands, and Brazil—and is actively recruiting more national committees to participate.

If you would like to assist with the project, please contact us at EPWG [at] WorldheritageUSA.org.

IDMS 2021: Intergenerational Conversation on Society and Heritage – Perspectives from Africa and the U.S.

Learn more about the event and speakers here

View webinar recording here