The World Heritage Convention, developed with significant United States leadership, seeks to identify and, through international cooperation, help protect the world's most significant natural and cultural sites.From the Pyramids of Egypt to India's Taj Mahal to Australia's Great Barrier Reef and the U.S.'s Grand Canyon, there are some places of such universal value that the entire international community has a stake in their preservation. Unfortunately, many of the nearly 900 sites currently on the World Heritage List face major threats and limited resources to ensure that their values are passed on to future generations.
As part of a commitment on the part of the United States to help strengthen the conservation of World Heritage sites around the globe, the U.S.. National Park Service (NPS) initiated the "U.S. World Heritage Fellows" program, offering training opportunities to qualified candidates who wish to learn from the U.S. experience in managing and protecting World Heritage Sites. All expenses paid extended residencies in U.S. national parks designated as World Heritage Sites are available to site managers and staff of World Heritage Sites in developing nations.
The training opportunities allow selected individuals to work alongside NPS professionals in a variety of areas including resource management, concessions, interpretation and education, planning, and law enforcement.The NPS Office of International Affairs, in cooperation with park partners, pays for and arranges for travel to the U.S., while the individual host parks provide housing and, in many cases, a modest living stipend.
The first World Heritage Fellowships took place in late 2009, when Bernard Ngoru of Mount Kenya National Park, traveled to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii. Since that time, the U.S. World Heritage Fellows Program has been able to host and train close to 20 park managers.
Mr. John Zulu, site manager at Zambia's Mosi-oa-Tunya/Victoria Falls National Park participated back in 2011. His report contains an image of him at the Grand Canyon, where he underwent his experience.
Journeying all the way from the Seychelles Islands, Ranger Marc Jean-Baptiste also underwent a Fellowship program at the Grand Canyon. His YouTube video explains what he experienced during his program.
For more information, contact the NPS World Heritage Fellows Program Coordinator.