Supporting World Heritage Sites: A Letter to the New York Times

We urge the U.S. to pay its Dues to the World Heritage Commitee


To the Editor:

Re “After a Six-Year Hiatus, the U.S. Will Rejoin UNESCO in July, Agency Says” (news article, June 13):

Thank you for your reporting that the United States plans to rejoin UNESCO. And for highlighting the importance of World Heritage sites, designated by UNESCO. Many Americans — and citizens of other nations — have visited and been inspired by World Heritage sites in the United States, including the Statue of Liberty, Yellowstone National Park, Chaco Culture National Historical Park and many other places.

However, the United States last paid its World Heritage Committee dues in 2011. Congress and the Biden administration should pay our current year dues (estimated at less than $600,000) and past unpaid dues.

The United States has continued to participate in the World Heritage program, including recent designations of Frank Lloyd Wright buildings, including the Guggenheim Museum, and pending nominations of Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks in Ohio and the Historic Moravian Church Settlements in Bethlehem, Pa. Advocates are also working to nominate U.S. Civil Rights Movement Sites and the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge.

Full U.S. engagement with World Heritage requires paying our share of the program’s costs. It would also permit the United States, a catalyst for the creation of the World Heritage program, to reassert our global leadership in heritage preservation, including such challenges as the reconstruction of World Heritage sites in Ukraine.


Thomas Cassidy
Arlington, Va.
The writer is a trustee of World Heritage USA.

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