Launch: Mentorship Programme for African World Heritage Professionals
In response to the call to empower African experts working for World Heritage, UNESCO in partnership with the African World Heritage Fund (AWHF), ICCROM, ICOMOS and IUCN launched the Mentorship Programme for African World Heritage Professionals on 16 February 2022 through an online event.
This Mentorship Programme is developed to better capacitate African World Heritage professionals through mentorship and echoes the appeals from the UNESCO Member States to “Fostering cultural heritage and Capacity development’, supporting Africa to meet the 2015 African Union’s “Agenda 2063: The Africa We Want” and the Agenda 2030.
The Mentorship Programme is the first of its kind in Africa and brings innovation in building the capacity of African professionals in order to contribute to the implementation of the World Heritage Convention. The programme aims to ensure job opportunities for African experts in the field of World Heritage as well as to create a shared training and knowledge exchange platform between Culture and Natural heritage professionals in addition to building collaborative and cross-generational relationships between experts.
The launch event and initiative was applauded by all attendees including H. E. Mr Souleymane Jules DIOP, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Senegal to France, Permanent Delegate of Senegal to UNESCO, Chair of the Africa group, H. E. Mr Tebogo Seokolo, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of South Africa to France, Permanent Delegate of the Republic of South Africa to UNESCO and H.E Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Sultanate of Oman to France, Permanent Delegate of the Sultanate of Oman to UNESCO Mr Hamad Al Hammami and the Director of World Heritage, Mr Lazare Eloundou Assomo.
Mr Souayibou Varissou (AWHF) closed the ceremony and was joined by representatives from the Advisory Bodies: Espéra Donouvossi (ICCROM), Tim Badman (IUCN), Regina Durighello (ICOMOS) in acknowledging the importance of the Mentorship programme for the future experts and managers of UNESCO World Heritage in Africa.
The programme will last for five years, of which this launching event coincides with the 50th anniversary year of the World Heritage Convention.
"The mentorship programme for African heritage professionals emphasises the notion of legacy by ensuring the transmission of expertise and the sharing of experience between generations. I was lucky enough to be able to benefit from this transmission 22 years ago when I took my first steps with the World Heritage Centre. With this programme, I have the opportunity to be able to pass on the torch in my turn, but also to learn through exchanges with mentees and other mentors in the programme.’’