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Date: 2012 Description: World Heritage Convention: 40 Years, 2012 © UN Image


  • UNESCO stands for United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

  • The U.S. was a principal architect and the first signatory of the 1972 UNESCO Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage.

  • There are currently 21 sites located here in the U.S. inscribed on the World Heritage List.

  • For more information, check out the National Park Service webpage.

  • HISTORY also has information on these sites.

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What is World Heritage?

  • Through the World Heritage Convention, UNESCO and its member states (including the U.S.) seek to identify, protect and preserve cultural and natural heritage around the world considered to be of outstanding value to humanity.
  • The inscription of 21 American properties as World Heritage Sites formally recognizes the respect they hold in the world community.
  • Sites like Independence Hall honor key American governmental documents whose words have echoed in struggles for independence and self-governance around the world.

Take Part in Our Video Challenge!

To help mark the 40th Anniversary of the World Heritage Convention, the National Park Service, HISTORY, and the U.S. National Commission for UNESCO want to hear from you!

Here’s the challenge:

Why do you think U.S. World Heritage sites are important to the world?


  • Simply film a short video (no more than 2 minutes) to explain why you think a particular U.S. World Heritage site is important to the world.
  • Between now and 10/15/12 upload your video to YouTube and be sure to include the hashtag #USWorldHeritage in the title.


Selected video submissions may be chosen for broadcasting on the HISTORY network as part of their focus on World Heritage. What does this mean for you? Not only does this mean that you have the opportunity to have your video shared and viewed by millions of viewers around the world, but you also become part of history in the making!

Date: 2012 Description: U.S. National Commission for UNESCO logo; National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, HISTORY logo. © UN Image; National Park Service