Communicating World Heritage
Communication and education are key aspects of the World Heritage Convention. According to Articles 4 and 27 of the Convention, each State Party has the duty to ensure the presentation and transmission of World Heritage to current and future generations and to establish corresponding education and information programmes.
World Heritage sites have great potential to serve as places of intercultural learning. Educational activities can bring distinct aspects of World Heritage to life: the sites' historical significance and architectural history, their importance for plant and animal life or their past and present functions in their social environment. Intercultural links which have shaped the history of many World Heritage sites to this day become visible through effective communication and education tools and promote a sense of identity, mutual respect and solidarity
These tools are multifaceted – in their aims and target groups, their methods and approaches. A variety of World Heritage sites and other stakeholders offer informal and formal educational programmes about World Heritage, especially for young people with an interest in the subject, enabling them to experience the sites directly. For visitors – tourists as well as local residents – there are schemes for visiting World Heritage sites not only as special cultural or natural sites, but to deal more closely with their meaning and the objectives of the World Heritage Convention.
In this context, the German Commission for UNESCO actively encourages and works with World Heritages sites and other stakeholders in Germany in the field of World Heritage communication and education. Its activities include the World Heritage Trainee programme and a series of meetings on issues such as information centres, World Heritage sites as places of vocational training, or Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) as an aspect of World Heritage communication. Since 2002, the German Commission for UNESCO has also acted as a patron of the school programme “denkmal aktiv”, run by the German Foundation for Monument Protection (“Deutsche Stiftung Denkmalschutz”).