Since 1984, the United States Committee of the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS-USA) International Exchange Program (IEP) has worked with partners around the world to provide hands-on training opportunities for emerging cultural heritage professionals. The IEP sends participants from the United States to internship placements abroad and welcomes international participants to placements in the United States in order to expose the next generation of heritage professionals to global best practices of historic preservation and heritage conservation. This one of a kind cultural heritage internship emphasizes the cross-cultural exchange of ideas and practices, enabling hosts and interns to learn from one another and increase their impact in the heritage field. To date, more than 700 interns from over 100 countries have participated in the program.
The cultural heritage field requires collaboration between people and organizations from different countries, communities, and cultures. In our increasingly interconnected and globalized world, organizations and emerging professionals must analyze and solve heritage problems from a variety of perspectives. By completing a cultural heritage internship through the IEP, interns gain international experience at an early stage in their careers, broadening their worldview and preparing them for success in multicultural environments. In addition to strengthening professional heritage skills, the IEP fosters lifelong relationships between participants and their host organizations, creating a global network of heritage professionals. These connections have resulted in continued collaboration between people, communities, and organizations on heritage projects around the world.
The IEP is now organized and administered by World Heritage USA in support of ICOMOS-USA.