Upcoming Symposium

Our 2022 Virtual International Symposium and Conference:  “World Heritage at 50: A Symposium on the Past, Present and Future of the World Heritage Convention” 


U.S. World Heritage Site Managers’ Forum: “Leveraging World Heritage to Protect and Promote World Heritage”

took place 20-21 October 2022

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Symposium Keynote Speakers

20 October: William K. Reilly

William K. Reilly has enjoyed careers in public service, non-governmental organizations, and private sector finance. He has served four U.S. Presidents: Presidents Nixon, George H.W. Bush, Clinton and Obama. As a senior staff member at the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), Reilly worked very closely with CEQ chair Russell Train on his remarks and on the Council’s reports. Train helped advance the World Heritage Trust concept, secured President Nixon’s support in the 1971 annual report, and led the U.S. delegation to the 1972 United Nations’ Stockholm Conference on the Environment, which endorsed the World Heritage Trust.

21 October: Charles “Chuck” Sams III, Director, National Park Service

A former longtime administrator of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation in Oregon, Sams, is the first Native American to lead the National Park Service and the 19th permanent director in the park service’s 105-year history. Sams has worked in state and tribal government jobs and in the nonprofit natural resource and conservation management field for more than 25 years. He’s also a former adjunct professor at Georgetown University and Whitman College.

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Symposium Agenda

Note: all times are Eastern Daylight Savings Time (EDT)

Thursday, October 20 – Day 1 of the World Heritage USA Symposium

The Past

1:00-1:15     Welcome – including statement of mission and policy, Douglas C. Comer, PhD, President, World Heritage USA

1:15-1:20     Introduction of Keynote Speaker, T. Destry Jarvis

1:20-1:50     Keynote Address, William K. Reilly, former staff to Russell Train at the Council for Environmental Quality (CEQ) and former Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

1:50-2:00     Q&A

2:00-2:30     How Does it Feel to be First, 50 Years later. Kayci Cook, NPS Superintendent of Mesa Verde NP/World Heritage Site and John Cook, NPS retired Regional Director and Associate Director

2:30-3:00     International Perspective on the Origins of the World Heritage Convention, Dr. Mechtild Rössler, Immediate Former Director of the UNESCO World Heritage Centre and the Heritage Division

3:00-3:15 BREAK

The Present

3:15-5:00 Panel Presentation/Discussion of U.S. World Heritage Program

  • What are the Management Expectations for Inscribed World Heritage Sites pursuant to the Convention, Doug Comer
  • What the World Heritage Convention added to protection of World Heritage Sites in USA – Yellowstone, Taos, Glacier, Everglades, Tom Cassidy
  • How does NPS inventory and monitoring benefit U.S. World Heritage Sites and how can NPS share these practices and other technical assistance with World Heritage Sites in other nations? Ray Sauvajot, NPS Associate Director for Natural Resources and Science

Friday, October 21 – Day 2 of the World Heritage USA Symposium

1:00-1:10     Welcome & Introduction, Douglas C. Comer, PhD, President, World Heritage USA

1:10-1:45      Keynote, “Indigenous Peoples – Integral to World Heritage” by NPS Director Chuck Sams

1:45-2:00     Q&A

The Present, continued

2:00-3:00     Threats to World Heritage Site Protection in the U.S. and around the World

  • Federal Consistency on Yellowstone/Grand Canyon Bureau of Land Management (BLM) & U.S. Forestry Service (USFS) land, John Adornato, National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) Vice President
  • Chaco – Oil & Gas development on leased BLM lands, Ernie Atencio, NPCA Southwest Regional Director
  • San Juan
  • International Perspective – the Mediterranean Coastline, Leslie Friedman, Project Specialist, Getty Conservation Institute
  • International Perspective – Mexico, Dr. Nelly Robles García, National Coordinator of Archaeology for the Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia de Mexico

3:00–3:15   BREAK

The Future

3:15-4:15     Future Directions for World Heritage in the U.S.

  • A Presidential Executive Order for U.S. World Heritage Sites and/or Amend the National Historic Preservation Act to add a World Heritage Section, John Fowler
  • Engage Tribes in co-management of World Heritage Sites, with Parks Canada as model, Christophe Rivet, President, ICOMOS Canada
  • Pay dues & expand scope of U.S. engagement with World Heritage Committee, including international World Heritage Site manager training, World Heritage Site technical support teams, etc.

4:15-4:55     Future Directions for World Heritage Abroad

  • How soft diplomacy can support World Heritage actions in other countries – Bilateral exchanges, export of technical expertise, upstreaming, etc., Stephen Morris, NPS Chief of Office of International Affairs
  • Expanding International Exchange Program and other training opportunities internationally to assure the next generation of World Heritage Sites staff and leaders, Christine Jacobs, NPS Superintendent of San Antonio Mission World Heritage Site.
  • Science to support World Heritage Sites – CESUs go international, Dr. Gary Machlis, Clemson University Professor of Environmental Sustainability

4:55-5:00     Closing, Douglas C. Comer, PhD, President, World Heritage USA

Site Managers’ Forum Agenda

Note: all times are Eastern Daylight Savings Time (EDT)

Thursday, October 20 – Day 1 of the Site Managers’ Forum

8:30-8:45           Traditional Welcome, Governor Romero, Taos Pueblo

8:45-9:30             Site introductions, Christine Jacobs, NPS SAAN

9:30-9:45             BREAK

9:45-10:30              Reporting to the World Heritage Committee on developments affecting US World Heritage Sites, Jonathan Putnam, NPS OIA

10:30-11:15            Climate Change Impacts to U.S. World Heritage

  • Myrna Palfrey, NPS SAJU
  • Philip Hooge, NPS GLBA
  • Amanda Boyd, Papahānaumokuākea

11:15-12            Living World Heritage Sites and Traditionally Associated Communities

  • Ilona Spruce and Dwayne LeftHand, Taos Pueblo
  • Philip Hooge, NPS GLBA
  • Ed Keable and Jan Balsom, NPS GRCA

Friday, October 21 – Day 2 of the Site Managers’ Forum

8:30-8:45      Welcome and Heritage Tourism, Dorah Benavidez, VisitSA

 8:45-9:30     World Heritage Site Management Plan Implementation and Partners: San Antonio Missions Case Study

  • Moderator: Betty Bueche, NPS and Bexar County (ret.)
  • Jonathan Huhn and Pam Rosser, Alamo
  • Rebecca Simmons, Archdiocese of San Antonio
  • Judge Nelson Wolff, Ken McGlamery, Bexar County
  • Colleen Swain, City of San Antonio, World Heritage Office
  • Vincent Michael, Conservation Society
  • Rick Trefzer, SARA
  • Christine Jacobs, NPS SAAN

9:30-9:45      BREAK

9:45-10:30   Philanthropy and U.S. World Heritage

  • Shannon Clifford, Mesa Verde Foundation
  • Valerie Kind, National Park Foundation
  • Stuart Graff, Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation
  • David Nagler, Mesa Verde Foundation
  • Rosebud Coffey, Mission Heritage Partners

10:30-11:15  Updates to the ICOMOS and IUCN Guidance on World Heritage and Impact Assessment, Christopher Polglase, Gray & Pape

11:15-12      World Heritage Preservation Documentation and Open Access, Elizabeth Lee, CyArk