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Exhibition Heritage Heroes at the 39th Session in Bonn

About the Exhibition

Heritage Heroes - Preserving World Heritage Together

"By protecting our cultural goods and preserving their material identity worldwide, we are protecting the fundaments of humanity. "
Dr. Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Federal Foreign Minister of the Republic of Germany

"Nature cannot defend itself. It is also a source of life for humanity. We therefore need people who engage in its conservation in a wise and courageous manner."
Prof. Dr. Maria Böhmer, Minister of State at the Federal Foreign Office and Chairperson of the 39th Session

World Heritage is in danger. Conflicts and catastrophes reveal the vulnerability of natural structures that have grown over millions of years. Unique primeval forests are being chopped down and natural areas are threatened by poaching, pollution or global warming.

Armed conflicts have disastrous effects on the legacy of millennia of human civilizations, they destroy cultural identities and contribute to new conflicts as a result. Negligence or lack of know-how also compromise the preservation of unique cultural and natural heritage.

Individuals often seem helpless in the light of such destructive forces. This exhibition shows that such appearances are deceptive. All around the world there are courageous people who protect the world‘s cultural and natural treasures from destruction. By doing so, they even take risks for their health, lives, freedom or careers.

The personalities who are portrayed here also represent many other individuals, some of who cannot be shown publically due to security reasons.

All of them recognise the importance of World Heritage sites for peace and a shared future for humanity.

All of them assume their responsibility as citizens of the world.

All of them fight for the preservation and restoration of landscapes, architectures and works of art.

Their stories are intended to encourage others to not watch helplessly but to actively engage in the protection of our cultural and natural World Heritage,even if this may involve risks. Whether woman or man, whether in politics or administration, whether firefighter or simple civilian – all of them can contribute to saving World Heritage.

The courage of each individual counts!

The „Heritage Heroes“ were photographed and interviewed during the period from 29 April to 1 June 2015 at the locations of their activities or while travelling.

The exhibition was prepared in cooperation with the Federal Foreign Office and the German Commission for UNESCO. It was financed by the Federal Foreign Office.

Project management, editorial work and exhibition design: Tatjana Krischik, Maria Wildeis
Photography: Bozica Babic, Albrecht Fuchs, Astrid Piethan, Michael Schaab
Text and Investigation: Djonam Saltani, Ruth Wolter