Over the past decades discussions on the integration of civil society (local communities) in the listing of historic sites or inscription in the World Heritage List have been gaining momentum due to the growing awareness that long-term sustainable outcomes for the protection of World Heritage sites will depend on meaningful community engagement. However, the effects of globalization, the phenomena of heritagisation, and heritage commodification can, more often than not, lead to a disconnect between the perceived values of a site (or immaterial cultural heritage) by outsiders, and the significance experienced by more immediate constituents. This potential dichotomy between projected understanding of Outstanding Universal Value and its curated “experience” can be at odds with the actual living and authentic experiences and expressions of locals, or even lead to the disenfranchising of communites. 

This session will explore how the listing process could become more participatory and sustainable by fostering stronger engagement of civil society. The discussion will touch upon the impact of listing on local communities, differences in perceived values between local constituents and visitors or Advisory Bodies, and how World Heritage listing processes can be developed to better serve heritage protection, sustainable development outcomes while safeguarding community interests and values.

Debora Barros and Luna Rajab (Members of the OWH Sustainability Debate Team)

Luna Rajab and Debora Barros

Dr. Hossam Mahdy
Hossam Mahdy, PhD is an Egyptian and British conservation architect. He is an independent consultant and researcher on the conservation of built heritage based in Oxford, UK. He received his PhD from Glasgow University, MSc from Raymond Lemaire International Centre for Conservation, KU Leuven, and BSc from Ain Shams University. He is a member of ICOMOS-UK and the president of ICOMOS International Scientific Committee of Vernacular Architecture (CIAV). Hossam’s professional and academic work focuses on the Islamic views on cultural heritage preservation, the conservation of vernacular built heritage and the protection of built heritage in the Arab region. He has a lifetime commitment to contributing to the establishment of a culture-specific approach, philosophy and practice of conservation for cultural heritage in the Arab region.

Dennis Rodwell
Dennis Rodwell, consultant architect-planner and independent researcher, based in Scotland, United Kingdom, works internationally in the field of cultural heritage and sustainable urban development focused on the promotion and achievement of best practice in the management of the broadly defined historic environment. Previously a principal in private architectural practice, he has also served in local government posts as architect, conservation officer, urban designer, principal planner and project manager. He writes and publishes widely on the theme of conservation and sustainability in historic cities. Further information may be found at, Downloaded publications may be found at,

Lina Abu Saleem
B.Sc., Architectural Engineering University of Jordan, Amman – Jordan 1993. Director OF As-Salt city development projects UNIT. A practising architect in urban regeneration and adaptive reuse worked on the conservation, interpretation, and management of As-Salt old city. Member of the joint technical working team for the preparation of the world heritage nomination file for As-Salt in the world heritage list UNESCO. Coordinator for the Project Her4Dev, Jordan-Salt in partnership with Bethlehem CCHP, Riwaq/Ramallah and RehabiMed/Spain. An EU funded project, under the call ‘Heritage for Development: Investing in people for the rehabilitation and management of historic city centres’. Architect-Planner under the Heritage for Development Project Funded by the EU, for the conservation of As Salt city cultural Heritage. Leading fieldwork to assess and document the value of As-Salt buildings. Coordinator for the study and implementation of the ECO Museum concept with JICA  official and technical team. Member of Basic Survey of the cultural Resources team in Salt was conducted by JICA volunteers2008. Coordinator for “Cultural Heritage, Tourism &Urban Development Project (CHTUDP) World Bank, 2008 – present. Coordinator for “The Tourism Sector Development Project” Historic Old Salt Development Sub-Project, Japan International Cooperation Agency. 2006 – 2011. Member of Technical team from the municipality conducted preliminary study/priorities to develop the historic core2002. ICOMOS Jordan / Secretary General – Board Member. Jordanian Engineering Associating member.

Evrim Ulusan
Evrim Ulusan is a PhD candidate urban planner and a senior practitioner in the field of heritage management and World Heritage Convention. Having worked as a state official between 2004 and 2020, she has been involved in the preparation of numerous nomination files, state of conservation reports as well as the coordination of the implementation of the Convention on behalf of State Party of Turkey. Her academic interest includes the research and publishing on heritage governance, participatory conservation and management, heritage planning techniques and mechanisms. She now provides consultancy and service to local governments, NGO’s and companies. 

Alissandra Cummins
Alissandra Cummins is Director of the Barbados Museum and Historical Society and a member of ICOMOS Bardabos. A recognized authority on Caribbean heritage, museum development and art, she was elected a Fellow of the Museums Association (FMA, U.K). She has been a lecturer in Museum and Heritage Studies and Art History with the University of the West Indies for more than fifteen years, and has authored a number of works in her areas of expertise. She has served as the Chairperson of the Barbados National Commission for UNESCO since 1999. Ms. Cummins was appointed Barbados’ first Special Envoy for Cultural Heritage in 1999 and was awarded Barbados’ Gold Crown of Merit (GCM) in 2005. Regionally, Ms. Cummins was instrumental in the establishment of the Museums Association of the Caribbean (MAC) and also served as President of the International Association for Caribbean Archaeology (IACA). She served as Chairperson of the Advisory Committee of ICOM (International Council of Museums) between 1998-2004, and was the first woman and first from the region to become ICOM’s President (2004 and 2007). Between 1998-2001 and again from 2009-2012 Ms. Cummins has represented Barbados as a member of the Executive Board of UNESCO. She served as Editor in Chief of the International Journal of Intangible Heritage for almost a decade until 2020, and was recently elected as President of the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience earlier this year. In 2006, she was recognized by UNESCO as one of “sixty eminent women who, in different parts of the world, in different positions and in different moments across the history of the Organization have made, and … are still making, significant contributions to the ideals and action of the Organization. Links: Academia/Alissandra CumminsLinkedIn/Alissandra-cummins.

Welcome and Introduction
Key thoughts on the topic by each panellist
Roundtable Questions
Final Remarks