International event takes Australia’s cultural heritage to the global stage

Cultural heritage experts from around the world will descend into Sydney as more than 1200 delegates from 100 countries attend the 21st General Assembly and Scientific Symposium of ICOMOS (the International Council on Monuments and Sites), from 31 August to 9 September 2023, bringing new World Heritage perspectives to the nation.

With over 150 events across ten days, the engaging program will involve thought-provoking site visits, functions, workshops, lectures, and a five-day Scientific Symposium. The community will have access to two unique events – a major Heritage Exposition at Darling Harbour, and a public Heritage Lecture at the Sydney Town Hall.

Australia ICOMOS President, Prof Tracy Ireland, says heritage issues and the future of heritage are more important than ever, and the General Assembly and related Scientific Symposium (GA2023) will encourage discussion on these issues as well as showcase innovative practices from across the globe.

“Cultural heritage has a pivotal role to play in adapting to, and mitigating impacts from, climate change and the GA2023 is an opportunity to bring experts together to discuss how communities and heritage practitioners can plan to alleviate climate impacts on cultural heritage.”

“GA2023 will provide a platform for Traditional Owners from around Australia, and First Nations communities from across the globe. It will also foster understanding of how conservation of heritage places is part of building resilient communities and ensuring the sustainability of the world’s scarce resources,” Prof Ireland added.

The Scientific Symposium (4-8 September) will explore the theme Heritage Changes: Resilience – Responsibility – Rights – Relationships, and reflects the tumultuous changes taking place in the world over the past few years, and the role of heritage in supporting recovery.

Symposium keynote speakers include June Oscar, AO Australian Indigenous Human Rights Commissioner, and Her Royal Highness, Princess Dana Firas – UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador and President of the Petra Trust in Jordan.

Young people from around the world will also benefit from the program, with a unique Youth Forum being held over three days on Cockatoo Island / Wareamah. Additional program highlights include a visit to the Greater Blue Mountains, and a World Heritage Panel.

GA2023 Convenor, Prof Richard Mackay said Australia ICOMOS is proud to be hosting the 21st ICOMOS Triennial General Assembly and Scientific Symposium for the first time in Australia or the Pacific, with the program suitably kicking off at the World Heritage listed Sydney Opera House, and continuing at the International Convention Centre Sydney (ICC Sydney), and across greater Sydney.

“Australia is home to 20 World Heritage properties. The General Assembly of ICOMOS (GA2023) will showcase the best of our nation’s heritage and practice to local and international audiences, including community members, governments and experts,” said Prof Mackay.

Supported by the Australian and NSW Governments, and various partners, GA2023 will be a historic event, as the first ICOMOS General Assembly in the Pacific region.

ICOMOS GA2023 is managed by Australasian event management company, Arinex.

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