by Minja Yang, President of the RLICC
I wish to welcome the students of the academic year 2016 - 2017 as we celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Raymond Lemaire International Centre for Conservation (RLICC). Heritage, in definition as well as in relevance to contemporary society has indeed evolved over the past 4 decades. From architectural masterpieces protected by governments, which was the main object of concern to heritage conservators, today the focus has shifted to the management for the sustainable use of heritage monuments and sites as part of a wider process of environmental protection. Hence continued 'use' has become the principal aim today for heritage sites whether a monument, or cluster of structures or a precinct in an urban or rural area, or cultural landscapes of various types that stretch over vast territories-whether static or evolutionary, contiguous or scattered. We, as heritage managers are therefore constantly concerned with the question of what use, and who the users of heritage are. The principal investors of heritage, almost everywhere in the world, have become promoters of tourism, whose concerns are generally more for enhancement than conservation. Thus, while tourism is indeed one of the fastest growing economic sector and generator of employment today, utmost care is needed not to falsify that heritage, neither in its tangible nor intangible form, and to maintain its authenticity, by promoting knowledgebased tourism to promote cultural dialogue and mutual understanding and appreciation.
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