The 14th World Congress of the Organization of World Heritage Cities “Heritage & Communities: tools to engage local communities” took place on October 31 – November 03, 2017 in Gyeongju, Republic of Korea. Representatives of 93 cities all over the world took part in the event.
Secretary General of the OWHC Mr. Denis Ricard and Mayor of Gyeongju Mr. Yangsik Choi delivered a welcome address at the opening ceremony. Prime Minister of Korea Mr. Nakyeon Lee, Charge de mission to the Director of the UNESCO World Heritage Centre Prof. Michael Turner, and Governor of Gyeongsangbuk-do Province Mr. Kwanyong Kim also welcomed the participants of the congress.
Director of the Monuments and Archeology department of the Municipality of Amsterdam Dr. Aart Oxenaar, Board Chair of the Global Philadelphia Association Mr. John F. Smoth, III, Executive Director of the Global Philadelphia Association Ms. Zabeth Teelucksingh, Chief of Staff of the Department of Commerce of Philadelphia Ms. Sylvie Gallier Howard and World Heritage Coordinator of the Global Philadelphia Association Ms. Melissa Stevens delivered an address at the first session “Community involvement in promotion and valorisation of urban heritage”. The session focused on various methods to help local residents understand the value of heritage.
Architect-Site Manager Grand-Place UNESCO (Brussels) Ms. Paula Cordeiro, Director General of the Urban Planning Department (Brussels) Ms. Michael Goetynck, Founder of the Mexican Association “Railroad Museums in Mexiсo” Dr. Arch. Gerardo Corres Tenorio gave a speech at the second session “Community involvement in management & safeguarding of urban heritage”.
Director of the Department of Heritage Conservation for the City Council of Penang Island (George Town) Ms. Noorhanis BT. Noordin, CEO of the foundation Tarragona Smart City Mr. Gustavo Cuadrado Moya presented a report at the third session “Community involvement in development of public policies related to urban heritage”.
The fourth session “Using urban heritage to support community development” was dedicated to ways to link World Heritage sites with local social and economic development. Vice-president of the Executive Committee of the City of Quebec Ms. Julie Lemieux and Co-founder and promoter of the IMAGENES Project and Neighbor of the street images (Cordoba) Mr. Jose Antonio Gomez Valera gave a speech.
Regional Coordinator of the Secretariat of Northern Europe and North America and World Heritage Coordinator of the City of Regensburg Mr. Matthias Ripp, Assistant to Regional Coordinator of the Secretariat of Asia-Pacific (Gyeongju) Mr. Jahyun Jang delivered an address at the fifth session.
Regional Coordinator of the Euro-Asia Secretariat of the OWHC Mr. Rasikh Sagitov took part in the sessions of the congress. He presented a report on the Euro-Asia Secretariat activity for 2017. The First Deputy Mayor of the city of Kazan Ms. Evgeniya Lodvigova presented the capital of Tatarstan and the sites inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Euro-Asia Secretariat of the OWHC presented the stands of the cities of Kazan, Bolgar, Yelabuga, Yaroslavl, Suzdal, Veliky Novgorod, Derbent (Russia), Aktau (Kazakhstan), Safranbolu (Turkey), Denpasar and Gianyar (Indonesia) at the exhibition of World Heritage cities that took place within the framework of the congress. Guests of the event could learn about the projects implemented by the regional secretariats of the OWHC during the year. Euro-Asia Secretariat presented the stand dedicated to the results of the International children drawings’ contest “Heritage of Eurasia through Children’s Eyes” which became a large-scale project that united participants of more than 150 Eurasian cities.
Voting for the Board of Directors 2017-2019 and the city that will host the 15th World Congress of the OWHC took place at the congress. Among the cities-candidates for hosting the congress were Kazan (Russia), Krakow (Poland) and Granada (Spain). According to the results of the voting the city of Krakow became the winner.
Gyeongju areas contain a remarkable concentration of outstanding examples of Korean Buddhist art, in the form of sculptures, reliefs, pagodas, and the remains of temples and palaces from the flowering, in particular between the 7th and 10th centuries. Participants of the congress had a unique opportunity to get acquainted with the heritage of the historic city of Gyeongju. Bulguska Temple/ Seokguram Grotto, Gyeongju Historic Areas and Korean Traditional Village of Yangdong are recognized as UNESCO World Heritage sites.
The Organization of World Heritage Cities was founded in 1993 in Fez, Morocco. The Organization is composed of 280 cities in which are located sites included on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The resolution on the establishment of the Euro-Asia Regional Secretariat of the OWHC was adopted at the session of OWHC Administrative Council in the city of Toledo (Spain) on April 07, 2003. The headquarters of the Euro-Asia Secretariat is located in Kazan (Russia).