Guest speakers

Jean-Philippe L. Messier

Biosphere reserve and marketing, entrepreneurship at the service of the label or vice versa?

Jean-Philippe L. Messier

Founder and Director of the Manicouagan-Uapishka World Biosphere Reserve (MUWBR), Jean-Philippe has set up an organization to act as a proxy for a UNESCO designation, having become a major agent of change in his region and a reference within the international network in which it operates. His bold and entrepreneurial spirit has enabled him to steer the MUWBR’s shift towards an entrepreneurial model, by leading the implementation of MU Conseils and Station Uapishka, the MUWBR’s two business units.

Recognized for its ability to forge successful partnerships, the MUWBR’s rich network has been developed through its active involvement on the local, national and international scenes. In 2014, the Ministère des Relations Internationales awarded him the Alphonse and Dorimène Desjardins prize for his achievements recognized beyond Quebec’s borders, awarded to a single individual every two years.


Representative of the OWHC

The OWHC’s contribution to the implementation of the World Heritage Convention

For almost 30 years, the Organization of World Heritage Cities (OWHC) has been organizing and supporting the organization of international meetings, workshops and conferences on various issues related to World Heritage in order to foster the exchange of information and expertise among its member cities.

It offers publications, the exchange of best practices, and has recently implemented an advocacy component.  The rapid growth of international tourism particularly affects heritage cities, and notably port cities, which receive more and more cruise ships.  The OWHC is working with partners to identify best practices in this area.

In parallel with its mission to promote the implementation of the World Heritage Convention, the OWHC has also become a tool to promote its member cities.  Joining the OWHC means joining an international network that offers excellent visibility and can reinforce attractiveness. Like a label, some cities use their membership of the OWHC as part of their promotional strategy. The OWHC closely follows the development of this practice.


Maria Gravari-Barbas

Being a UNESCO World Heritage City: Advantages and constraints of a “label”, between fact and fantasy

Coordinator of the UNESCO/UNITWIN international network, Maria Gravari-Barbas has been in charge of the UNESCO Chair “Tourism, Culture and Development” since 2009. She is also Professor of Geography and Director of the Institute of Research and Higher Studies in Tourism at the University of Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne.