21st Century Changemakers: Preserving Cultural Heritage and Identities – A Multi-Regional Project

IVLP participants pose in front of one of the ships at the historic Jamestown Settlement.

This project for sixteen cultural historians, museum administrators, curators, educators, cultural preservationists, and government officials sought to examine how local, state, and national identities are formed through expressions of tangible and intangible culture, and how cultural heritage can be misappropriated in furtherance of disinformation.

The project featured site visits to museums, historical landmarks, national parks, and other heritage sites. Appointments highlighted how specific forms of cultural heritage may be used to bolster civic pride and common societal values, or manipulated and misinterpreted to foster discord and discrimination.  The program participants visited national level organizations in Washington, DC; examined colonial history, race and cultural heritage in Virginia; looked at historic preservation efforts in Missouri; and studied Native American history in New Mexico.

In Washington, DC participants appreciated meetings with organizations including U.S. National Committee of the International Council on Monuments and Sites (US/ICOMOS), the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Heritage, and personal tours of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and the National Museum of the American Indian. In Charlottesville, a highlight was a walking tour of the University of Virginia Rotunda with architectural historian and Vice Provost for Academic Outreach, Prof. Louis Nelson.  Nelson offered an unvarnished history of enslaved labor and the founding of UVA and spoke passionately about how the legacy of slavery continues to have a contemporary impact on the UVA community.  Finishing in Santa Fe, highlights included meetings with the Northern Rio Grand National Heritage Area, El Museo Cultural, and the New Mexico Historic Preservation District, of which participants truly enjoyed for their personal and professional insights into preserving the cultural heritage of different indigenous and immigrant populations.



Sponsors and Partnerships

U.S. Department of State
International Visitor Leadership Program, U.S. Department of State
Presidential Precinct
Global Ties Kansas City
Santa Fe Council on International Relations
World Affairs Council of St. Louis

Project summary

21st Century Changemakers: Preserving Cultural Heritage and Identities – A Multi-Regional Project
Number of Visitors: 16
Regions: Europe and Eurasia
Countries: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia, Poland, Greece, Montenegro, Latvia, Cyprus, Slovakia, Georgia, Ukraine, Slovenia, Hungary
Impact Areas: Civic Engagement
Program Areas: Global Leadership