Students attend World Heritage and U.S. Civil Rights Sites Symposium

Students pose with Dr. Eskew, GSU Professor and the Coordinator of the GSU World Heritage Initiative

Several CED students and Program Coordinator Professor Reap attended the World Heritage and U.S. Civil Rights Sites Symposium hosted by Georgia State University last week.  The purpose of the symposium was to discuss the potential nomination of sites associated with the U.S. Civil Rights Movement to the World Heritage List.  Representatives for many of these sites as well as experts in the field of World Heritage and preservation were present for these meetings.  The symposium started on Thursday with tours of the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site and a talk discussing “What is World Heritage?” at Ebenezer Fellowship Hall, the church where King was a copastor, followed by a reception.

On Friday, the symposium met at GSU’s College of Law where there were more presentations and discussions.  Attendees heard from experts in the study of the history of the Civil Rights Movement, a former chairperson of the Executive Board of UNESCO, the coordinator of the San Antonio Missions World Heritage Site, and others who have worked with World Heritage sites specifically dealing with designation and management of the sites.

On Saturday, Professor Reap was part of a panel of preservationists who spoke.  The conference concluded with a discussion of what will be the next steps towards the nomination of these sites.

Students attending were Maura Jackson, Bethany Moore, Pearl Howell, Sean Griffith, Erika Schroeder, and Maria Rachal.

Pearl Howell said that the symposium “was an excellent opportunity to see preservation processes in action, and to meet some active preservationists.”  Sean Griffith agreed saying that he thought that the symposium was “a great opportunity for preservation students to observe the inner workings of the process of nominating sites to the World Heritage List. This type of opportunity is rare, and especially important because we can take in the proceedings without having to worry about advancing an agenda for a site we represent.”

For Maura Jackson, her favorite part of the symposium was the session led by Dr. Alissandra Cummins and Ms. Susan Snow discussing authenticity and comparatives in world heritage analysis.  She felt that their talks were very relevant for the committee to learn from as they move forward with preparing a nomination for the civil rights sites. She also really enjoyed the follow-up questions and discussion.

For Bethany Moore, one of the most inspiring parts of the symposium was “to see all the different backgrounds of the people that came together to focus on a central goal.”  She enjoyed seeing “people from all over that cared enough about this project to work together to get it recognized on the world stage.”


Auburn Avenue where the MLK Jr National Historic Site is located

Attendees heard from a variety of experts in the field of preservation, history, and world heritage.