On 21 May 2024, ICCROM Director-General Aruna Francesca Maria Gujral hosted HE Jeffrey Prescott, Ambassador of the U.S. Mission to the UN Agencies in Rome, at ICCROM headquarters. Ambassador Prescott, accompanied by Dionandrea Shorts, Alternate Permanent Representative to USUN, presented his credentials and engaged in fruitful discussions on the longstanding partnership between ICCROM and the United States. 

The meeting underscored the vital role of cultural heritage in fostering economic growth, social cohesion, peace, stability and environmental sustainability. Both parties emphasized the importance of their continued collaboration in addressing emerging global challenges through the conservation and promotion of heritage. 

In this regard, the discussion focused on our joint efforts to safeguard and recover Ukraine's cultural heritage through the ICCROM First Aid and Resilience for Cultural Heritage in Times of Crisis programme. The US Department of State’s Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP) has supported phase 1 of a 4-phase plan for recovery of cultural heritage in Ukraine. This project involved training 25 heritage professionals from 8 at-risk oblasts in Ukraine on damage and risk assessment for movable, immovable and intangible heritage, and developing a GIS-based risk map to systematically collect, compile, analyze, and visualize data on damage and risks to Ukraine's heritage. 

ICCROM Welcomes USUN Ambassador Jeffrey Prescott 

ICCROM also showcased its Youth.Heritage.Africa programme, which equips emerging professionals to harness cultural heritage as a crucial driver of growth. The programme’s latest initiatives in Egypt, Rwanda, Kenya and Zimbabwe focus on developing heritage innovation hubs designed to foster youth engagement, entrepreneurship, and business development skills in the creative industry. 

The discussions also reinforced the importance of ICCROM's people-centered approach, and the milestones achieved through transformative capacity-building activities and cultural heritage management. The United States has been a valued Member State of ICCROM since 1971. To share some of this history, documents and photographs from ICCROM's Archives were presented, illustrating the deep-rooted collaboration in safeguarding cultural heritage through joint missions and the involvement of US participants and lecturers in ICCROM courses and activities. 

Director-General Gujral expressed gratitude to Ambassador Prescott for his visit and reaffirmed ICCROM's commitment to continuing cooperation with the United States in cultural heritage preservation.