UNESCO Chair «Natural and Culture Heritage for Sustainable Mountain Development»

The new UNESCO Chair «Natural and Culture Heritage for Sustainable Mountain Development» will apply and further develop novel approaches of inter- and transdisciplinary co-producing, co-learning and co-applying related to the conservation of natural and cultural heritage and their valorization as resources in sustainable mountain development.
The Chair will have, beside teaching and research, a strong emphasize on exchange and transfer from theory to practice as well as interlinking public and private partners, science, policy and economy. It will focus on alternative ways to leverage heritage sites to create innovation and new added values for local people in mountain areas.
The activities and cooperation of the partner network will concentrate on the World Heritage Region in the Canton Valais and Canton Bern, the Alpine space in West–East direction and in North-South direction on the mountain areas in Eastern Africa.

The UNESCO Chair will be hosted by the Management Centre of the World Heritage Swiss Alps Jungfrau-Aletsch jointly with the Institute of Geography and the Centre for Development and Environment (CDE) of the University of Berne and the Centre for Training and Integrated Research in Regional Development (CETRAD) in Nanyuki, Kenya. Professor Stephan Rist (CDE) will act as Chairholder and Boniface Kiteme (Director of CETRAD) as Co-Chairholder. Promotor Beat Ruppen, former Director of the Management Centre of the World Heritage site and the Director of the Study Centre will coordinate the establishment and running of the Chair in cooperation with the academic institutions included in the partnership.

Almost 40 years of cooperation in research and Training of the University of Bern with the Research Institutions in Kenya, Ethiopia and Tanzania are awarded and are the foundation for the future, intensified cooperation.

Beside the consortium of the Chair partners, an international network of around 20 cooperation partners has been established, including Universities, High schools, UNESCO institutions and designated sites, with the aim to cooperate in teaching, research and applied projects in the field of World Heritage and sustainable mountain development.

Chair Partnership

The following partners work together with the UNESCO Chair:

  • Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne EPFL Valais/Wallis, Platform EPFL und HES-SO
  • Université Lausanne UNIL, Institut de géographie et durabilité, Lausanne
  • Institut für Tourismus, Hochschule West Schweiz HES-SO Valais-Wallis, Sitten
  • UNESCO Chair Cultural Heritage and Tourism, Universität Salzburg, Transcultural Communication Division, Oesterreich
  • International Scientific Committee on Research in the Alps ISCAR, Bern
  • Schweizerische Arbeitsgemeinschaft für die Berggebiete SAB, Bern
  • Schools for Teacher Education Berne and Northwestern Switzerland PH, Bern
  • World Heritage Experience Switzerland WHES, Bern
  • Global Regions Initiative (GRI)
  • International Graduate School IGS North-South der Universitäten Basel, Bern, Zurich
  • Mountain Research Initiative MRI, Institut für Geographie der Universitaet Bern,
  • Regensburg World Heritage Coordination: Centre for coordination of Heritage site, World Heritage Cities Regional Conference North West European Region, Regensburg, Germany
  • Master for Management of Protected Areas, University Klagenfurt, Austria
  • Master World Natural Heritage Management, WNHM Trentino School of Management, Italy
  • Regional Development, Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Art, Anton Melik Geographical Institute, Slovenia
  • UNESCO Chair Sustainable Mountain Development, Centre for Mountain Studies, Perth College UHI, Millenium Institute, University of the Highlands and Islands, Scotland