From 20 to 25 May, 25 young people from 17 African countries will come together to gain knowledge, skills and experience in protecting and managing cultural heritage. The African World Heritage Young Leaders Workshop – to take place in Cape Town and Robben Island, South Africa – aims to nurture young Africans’ leadership skills  to support the implementation of the World Heritage Convention and sustainable development efforts in Africa.

The African World Heritage Young Leaders Workshop is a flagship component of the Youth.Heritage.Africa. programme: an ICCROM (International Centre for the Study of Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property) initiative, in partnership with the School of African Heritage (EPA) and the African World Heritage Fund (AWHF). 

The workshop emphasizes the importance of promoting African youth’s greater involvement in the narratives and the management of World Heritage sites on the occasion of  the World Heritage Convention’s 50th anniversary under the theme “The next 50: World Heritage as a source for resilience, humanity and innovation.” The workshop will result in the participants issuing “The Youth Declaration on World Heritage in Africa: The Next 50.”

Participants will engage with innovative heritage identification, documentation, conservation and promotion, as well as entrepreneurship opportunities. The workshop will promote sustainable, equitable and robust practices that will ensure that the youth understand how to protect heritage while benefiting from it. It brings qualitative diversity to heritage conservation by providing practical, on-the-ground knowledge that is critical to addressing the challenges of World Heritage conservation and management. The agenda will cover the World Heritage Convention, the concept of Outstanding Universal Value, heritage policy, the benefits of heritage for communities and the diverse connections between heritage places and their wider context (including environmental, cultural, social, political and economic factors). The workshop’s structure includes digital technologies to further heritage awareness and support creative industries and the promotion of heritage as an economic asset to address poverty and unemployment among young people. 

The 2022 African World Heritage Young Leaders Workshop – under the theme “Of the Past, to the Future: Strengthening the Resilience of African World Heritage through Youth Leadership and Innovation” – is expected to increase youth leaders’ capacities  to advocate for African World Heritage, as well as to connect  African youth and inspire them with the possibilities of their rich heritage. 

The workshop will conclude on 25 May with the celebration of Africa Day 2022, and will culminate with the official launch of both the Youth.Heritage.Africa. programme and the 50th Anniversary Expert Meeting, to be held from 25 to 28 May. The Africa Day celebration will focus on the critical role African youth should play in the effective implementation of UNESCO Conventions and the African Union Agenda 2063: The Africa We Want, and ICCROM’s Youth.Heritage.Africa. programme as a response. Following the workshop, participants will join the network of African youth ambassadors, who empower their peers to advocate for better policy instruments to construct more sustainable governance systems concerning African heritage preservation and promotion.