Ename Charter Ratified

It is my great pleasure to report that the ICOMOS Charter for the Interpretation and Presentation of Cultural Heritage Sites (known across the world as the "Ename Charter") has been officially ratified by the 16th General Assembly of ICOMOS.

It now takes its place as only the 11th official charter adopted by that international organization since its establishment in 1965.

This is the culmination of almost seven years of hard work and dedication to the ideal of open and inclusive heritage interpretation, carried out in the face of serious obstacles and, at least initially, considerable opposition.

On a personal note, I would like to express my deep gratitude to the following individuals and institutions:

  • to former Deputy of Culture Jean-Pierre Van Der Meiren and Dirk Callebaut, Ename project leader, for their unwavering support for this initiative from the very beginning;
  • to the Province of East-Flanders and the Flemish Community of Belgium for their institutional and financial support for work connected with the charter process;
  • to the Ename Center for Public Archaeology and Heritage presentation for supporting the work of the Charter and providing an institutional home for its secretariat;
  • to Jean-Louis Luxen (former Secretary-General of ICOMOS) for his wisdom and central role in the formulation and shaping of the original charter text;
  • to Gustavo Araoz (US/ICOMOS) and Sheridan Burke (ICOMOS Australia) for their essential guidance and for steadfastly championing the Charter in the Executive Committee and other ICOMOS bodies;
  • to Vice President John Jameson and many other members of the ICOMOS International Scientific Committee on Interpretation and Presentation (ICIP) for their active participation in the review and revision process;
  • to Eva Roels of the Ename Center for her outstanding collaboration, active involvement in the cause of international cooperation in heritage interpretation, and her skillful administrative coordination in support of the Charter;
  • and to Claudia Liuzza also of the Ename Center for her tireless and irreplaceable efforts in organization, communication, and editing of the various Charter drafts throughout the entire review and ratification process.

The historic achievement of this charter would have been impossible without the contributions of all these colleagues and friends.

Neil Silberman

4 October 2008