Merekara Kara: Pinch me, I'm dreaming

I am a very firm believer that sometimes you do need to let go of control and organisation and see what opportunities may arise, though actually I do find this hard to put into practice sometimes because I am a bit of a control freak! So, when I saw a facebook post from AYLI asking for applicants to go overseas for the 42nd World Heritage Committee, I thought heck, why not apply. I had taken a cultural heritage paper at uni for my tourism degree and learnt a bit about UNESCO and the World Heritage List. Surely all those hours of attending lectures, completing assignments and doing an exam had to count for something?!

When I received the call from Rachel that I was successful, I could not believe it!!! Wow, it was ACTUALLY happening. Manama, the capital and largest city of Bahrain is where we are headed. An approx. population of 157,000. An island of the coast of Saudi Arabi, located in the Persian Gulf. This info I have since found out after learning that the conference was going to be held there, but otherwise had I never held of it, yet alone planned to travel there!

Friday 15th June was the first time I met the other two delegates – Katie and Manu. What lovely, like-minded women, though we all come from different backgrounds and have different interests, I think this will be a great thing when we are overseas living together and attending the conference. The training weekend began on Saturday 16th and finished Sunday 17th. Wow. My mind was blown away. We had various speakers presenting on world heritage in relation to other topics such as world heritage and climate change, world heritage and indigenous people, world heritage and peace & conflict. All the speakers were so passionate and knowledgeable in their fields, and honestly, I repeat – MY MIND WAS BLOWN. It was like uni but better – NO ASSIGNMENTS. Just the pleasure of listening about an interesting topic and conversing with the presenter. The main takeaway message that I am taking onboard before I head off later this evening, is not to be disillusioned on the political powerplay that does occur during the conference – even though the World Heritage Committee is supposed to be unbiased.

To be honest, it hasn’t really sunk in that I’ll be getting on a flight this evening, travelling for 17hrs to Dubai and then another 2hrs to Bahrain. I’ve had work, been packing and sorting out logistics on my end so until I am standing in front of the international departure gates, this is all a dream.

All posts by Institute delegates reflect their own thoughts, opinions and experiences.

Posted on June 20, 2018 and filed under World Heritage 2018.