20 participants from 16 countries and numerous resource persons from more than 12 countries are gathered together for the course. Our participants come from many different backgrounds - ranging from wildlife, law, economics, visual arts, architecture, history, urban planning, chemistry, geography, archaeology to name a few. We have a good mix of people working on heritage sites, central or local government agencies, private sector, NGOs, universities, and museums.
The Opening ceremony of the course took place on 20th November 2019 in Colombo where representatives from Sri Lankan Ministry of Housing, Construction and Cultural Affairs, Department of Archaeology, Central Cultural Fund, IUCN, ICCROM, and Embassies of Italy and Republic of Korea to Sri Lanka took part to officially start the course.
The objective of the course is to find better practices of managing cultural and natural heritage in connectivity, that would benefit both the heritage and the sustainable development needs of society. For this, diverse lectures from both Sri Lankan and international resource persons have been organized to understand the national context of Sri Lanka in implementing the Sustainable Development Goals and to understand the ways how natural and cultural heritage are being protected.
We are using diverse heritage sites located in the Dambulla area ranging from two World Heritage sites, Ancient City of Sigiriya, Rangiri Dambulla Cave Temple, together with other important sites such as the Minneriya Tank and agricultural landscape, and the Ritigala Monastery Site, as our case study sites.
We are very grateful to our partners and colleagues in Sri Lanka for providing us the opportunity to visit all the sites. We have also been provided with in-depth information on the heritage values and current management processes and issues that the sites face.
Participants are divided into smaller groups to work on a groupwork task for finding innovative and creative solutions for addressing the management issues and needs of all the heritage places that we are engaging with in the course to apply the different approaches and methodologies acquired from the lectures.