ICCROM and Ireland's National Monuments Service (NMS) have signed a landmark cooperation agreement to establish the Ireland National Monuments Service Scholarship Fund. This initiative will span from 2024 to 2026, aimed at enhancing the participation of heritage professionals from Africa and Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in ICCROM's capacity-building activities with a particular focus on World Heritage.

The National Monuments Service, part of Ireland's Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage (DHLGH), plays a crucial role in safeguarding Ireland's archaeological heritage, providing archaeological input to the care, conservation, presentation and interpretation of over 1000 national monuments in State care. The NMS is also the Focal Point for World Heritage in Ireland. NMS's collaboration with ICCROM underscores a shared commitment to global heritage preservation and management.

The Fund highlights the importance of Ireland’s partnerships with these countries and complements the commitments set out in Ireland's Strategy for Africa to 2025 and Ireland's Second Strategy for Partnership with Small Island Developing States and the upcoming Strategy for World Heritage in Ireland. 

Supporting global access to capacity-building 

Over the next three years, the NMS will contribute an annual scholarship grant to ICCROM, specifically designed to assist heritage professionals from Africa and SIDS in other regions, including the Caribbean, Asia and the Pacific, in participating in ICCROM's capacity-building activities. These activities are instrumental in strengthening the implementation of the World Heritage Convention at local and national levels and provide immersive learning experiences and opportunities to engage with World Heritage sites, collaborate with and learn from international colleagues.

The scholarship fund will cover travel and accommodation expenses, ensuring that participants from underserved regions can attend in-person courses, workshops and fora. 

A significant contribution

ICCROM is grateful to the Irish National Monuments Service for making these capacity-building activities more accessible. This scholarship fund is a critical step towards ensuring that heritage professionals from Africa and SIDS can fully participate in and benefit from ICCROM's capacity-building activities. Through this support, we can ensure greater inclusivity and accessibility to capacity-building globally.

Heritage site managers and specialists from Africa and SIDS are encouraged to stay tuned for upcoming course announcements. Specific provisions will be made for applying to this scholarship fund, which will be awarded based on established selection criteria for each activity. This initiative promises to enhance the skills and knowledge of heritage professionals in regions most in need of support.