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Opening / Keynote address



9.00am Welcome remarks by Dato' Lee Kah Choon, Chairman, Organising Committee
Click here for speech
9.10am Official opening by Y.A.B. Lim Guan Eng, the Chief Minister of Penang
9.30am TEA BREAK at g HOTEL

Moderator: Dato' Lee Kah Choon

Keynote Speakers

Making the Most of World Heritage: Promoting Economic Growth and Heritage Conservation - Tim Curtis, Head of Culture Unit, UNESCO Bangkok.
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Introduction to George Town World Heritage Site - Puan Maimunah bt. Mohd. Sharif, Acting General Manager, George Town World Heritage Office, Penang

Click here for rapporteuring notes on Keynote Speakers by Daniel Lee, Research Officer, Socio-Economic and Environmental Research Institute


Question & Answer


Session One: Optimising returns from cultural tourism

Moderator: Dato' Tengku Idaura bt. Tengku Ibrahim, Cultural Heritage Advisory Team

Capturing Tourism Revenue for Conservation of Built and Intangible Heritage - Mr. Trang Van An, Deputy Director, Hoi An Center for Monuments Management & Preservation, Vietnam
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Developing your own Sustainable Style: Advice on envisioning World Heritage Sites as Cultural Tourism Products - Dr. Hilary du Cros, Institute for Tourism Studies, Macao
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Discussant: Dr. Badaruddin Mohamed, School of Housing, Building & Planning, University Science Malaysia

Mr. Marco G. Battistotti, Malaysian Association of Hoteliers (MAH)
Mr. Eddy Low, Association of Tourism Products, Penang (ATAP), alternate Lawrence Koay, Malaysian Inbound Tourism Association (MITA)
Ms. Joann Khaw, specialized cultural heritage tour guide

Click here for rapporteuring notes on Session One by Leslie James & Pao Lin


Question & Answer

1.00pm LUNCH at g HOTEL

Session Two: Value adding to property and business in the World Heritage Site and its surroundings

Moderator: Sr. Lau Wai Seang, Director, Valuation & Property Services Department, Ministry of Finance, Malaysia

Value Adding to Cultural Sites in Sri Lanka - Karl Stein, Galle Fort Hotel, Sri Lanka
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Economic Revitalization of Historic Kyoto - Prof. Yoshifumi Muneta, Kyoto Pref. University, Japan
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Discussant: Ms. Lim Yoke Mui, School of Housing, Building & Planning, University Science Malaysia

Dr. Goh Ban Lee, Fellow, Socio-Economic & Environmental Research Institute (SERI)
Dr. Teoh Poh Huat, Henry Butcher Malaysia
Dr. Noraini Abdullah, AGB Sdn. Bhd.

Click here for rapporteuring notes on Session Two by Timothy Tye, Asia Explorers


Question & Answer

4.00pm TEA at g HOTEL
4.15pm Assemble at the Lobby for Site Excursions
4.30pm Busses depart
5-7pm Site Excursions & Discussion of Site Issues
8pm Baba Nyonya Dinner at the Pinang Peranakan Mansion



Session Three: Developing win-win relationships with community organisations

Moderator: Ms. Janet Pillai, Arts-Ed

Community Participation in China World Heritage Sites - Hou Weidong, Deputy Director, Chinese Academy of Cultural Heritage
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Community Involvment and Development in Conservation Practice: Learning from the Field - Gurmeet Rai, Director, CRCI India
Click here for speech (PDF, 11,358 KB)

Discussant: Ms. Lim Gaik Siang, Penang Heritage Trust

Dato' Najmudeen Kader, Muslim League
Ms. Loh-Lim Lin Lee, PAPA Project, Penang Heritage Trust
Mr. Tan Lye Hoe, Cheng Hoe Seah

Click here for rapporteuring notes on Session Three by Timothy Tye, Asia Explorers

10.30am Question & Answer

Session Four: Effective enabling and enforcement: The role of government

Moderator: Y.B. Chow Kon Yeow, State Executive Councillor for Local Government and Traffic Management

The Vigan City Heritage Conservation Program: A Tool for Development - Ms. Eva Marie S. Medina, Mayor of Vigan City
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Heritage Guidelines and Incentive Schemes - Verena Ong, Senior Heritage Specialist, Sydney
Click here for speech (PDF, 9,241 KB)

Discussant: Dr. Lee Lik Meng, School of Housing, Building & Planning, University Science Malaysia

Tuan Haji Zainuddin b. Ahamad. Director, Town & Country Planning Department, Penang
Representative, National Heritage Department, Ministry of Information, Communication & Culture (KPKK)
Puan Noorhanis Noordin, Building Department, Municipal Council of Penang Island (MPPP)

Click here for rapporteuring notes for Session 4 by Jeffrey Hardy Quah, Publications Officer, Socio-Economic and Environmental Research Institute

12.30pm Question & Answer
1.00 pm


For those attending Friday prayers, the nearest Mosque is Masjid Kelawai, about 5 minutes drive away

1.45 pm Assemble at the Lobby for the Site Visit
2.00-2.45pm Optional: Site Visit to Loke Villa, Gurney Drive

Parallel workshops (break-out in four different rooms):

Creating Partnerships & Moving Forward in the areas of:

  • Business Cooperation

  • Governance

  • Information & Marketing Communications

  • Creative Environment

Click here for rapporteuring notes on Creative Environment Workshop by Daniel Lee, Research Officer, Socio-Economic and Environmental Research Institute

4.45pm Reporting from Workshops (in the ballroom)
15 minutes report from each workshop

Wrap-up by Puan Maimunah bt. Mohd. Sharif

Concluding remarks by Tim Curtis

7.00 pm Assemble at the Lobby for Suffolk House Dinner
7.30 pm Busses depart

Dinner at Suffolk House & Presentation of UNESCO Asia Pacific Heritage Award for Cultural Heritage Conservation by Tim Curtis

How the Session Works

Each session is 2 hours long and is structured in such a way as to allow learning from foreign case studies and perspectives, to apply these insights to George Town World Heritage Site, and to incorporate the views of stakeholders. The moderator and discussant help to facilitate the mutual engagement of speakers, panelists and audience.

  • Moderator: To introduce speakers and to ensure that the discussion is focussed primarily on Penang issues (5 minutes)
  • 2 international speakers: From abroad to describe a success story in another heritage city (20 minutes each)
  • Main discussant: Local speaker to give the Penang perspective (15 minutes)
  • 3 Panelists representing various stakeholder groups (10 minutes each)
  • Dialogue, Question & Answer from the floor (30 minutes)

Speakers' Biodata

Dr. Tim Curtis is the head of the Culture Unit in UNESCO Bangkok office, and is responsible for the coordination and implementation of UNESCO's Culture Programme in South East Asia. He has been working on culture issues in international contexts for the last fifteen years firstly as a cultural anthropologist and then for UNESCO.

He received his PhD in Cultural Anthropology from the Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, where he wrote a thesis entitled 'Talking about Place' on the relationship between oral history and place amongst the Na'hai speakers of Malakula in the Republic of Vanuatu. From March 2000 until December 2002 he worked as a consultant for UNESCO's Intangible Cultural Heritage Section at UNESCO Headquarters, primarily on the design and implementation of intangible heritage projects as well as on the launching of the UNESCO Proclamation of Masterpieces of the Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2001.

In January 2003 he joined the Local and Indigenous Knowledge Systems (LINKS) Project in the UNESCO Science Sector, before moving to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, in December 2004, where as programme specialist for Culture he oversaw UNESCO culture sector programme in Tanzania, Madagascar, Comoros, Mauritius and Seychelles.

In June 2009 He moved to UNESCO Bangkok office. He has worked on numerous international programmes related to culture in the fields of heritage, cultural industries, cultural policies and culture and development.

Maimunah Mohd. Sharif is Acting General Manager, George Town World Heritage Office, and Director, Department of Planning and Development, Municipal Council of Penang Island, MPPP. Maimunah obtained her BSc. Hons in Town Planning Studies, University of Wales, Institute of Science and Tecnology, and her MSc. in Planning from University Science Malaysia. She has been working in the Municipal Council of Penang Island (MPPP) since 1985 and was promoted to Director of the Department of Planning & Development in 2003. She is responsible for overall planning, development control, landscaping, implementation of MPPP projects, as well as the preparation of the MPPP Local Plan.

This year, she was appointed Acting General Manager of the George Town World Heritage Office. She is responsible for heritage development in Penang. In 2005, she was recognized with an award as an “Outstanding Planner” by The Malaysian Institute of Planners, for the implementation of the Urban Renewal Project in Penang Island.

Tran Van An is Deputy Director, Hoi An Center for Monuments Management and Preservation. He obtained a B.A. in philology. From 1986, he worked in the Hoi An Relics Management and Tourism Services Board.

From 1995, he worked in the Hoi An Center for Monuments Management and Preservation. He helped to prepare Hoi An Ancient Town's nomination dossier for submission to UNESCO.

He has compiled and published a publication on Hoi An's Intangible cultural heritages and co-produced a several other publications on Hoi An's Culture and History.

He is also compiling two other publications, the "Hoi An Homeowners' Preservation Manual" and "Impact - Hoi An".

Dr Hilary du Cros is currently a professor at the Institute For Tourism Studies, Macao, SAR China. She has had two careers during her professional life. The first career, from 1984 to 1998, included her role as Director of du Cros and Associates, a consulting firm located in Melbourne, Australia, specializing in impact assessment, visitor planning and heritage research.

On moving to Hong Kong in early 1999, Dr du Cros later taught undergraduate and postgraduate classes in tourism and heritage management. She has conducted research/consulting in the Asia Pacific region using the combination of heritage management and tourism to provide a unique perspective on management, marketing and sustainability.

Dr du Cros also has a long history of active involvement in organizations on a national and international level, such as United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) and UNESCO. She has published over 75 scholarly works, including books, journal articles, conference papers, monographs and book chapters. Books include a collaboration with Yok-shiu F. Lee on "Cultural Heritage Management in China" (2007) and the popular textbook with Bob McKercher on "Cultural Tourism: The Partnership between Tourism and Cultural Heritage Management" (2002) in Chinese, English and Latvian.

Karl Stein was born in Papua New Guinea and raised in Melbourne. He studied arts and law at the University of Melbourne and graduated from the New South Wales School of Film and Television. With a background in the performing arts, he has a great appreciation of cultural and historical arts. In partnership with local Penangite Chris Ong, Karl has restored old Victorian warehouses in Melbourne into urban dwellings, updated and renovated Georgian terraces in Sydney as well as developed old beach shacks into contemporary dwellings on the New South Wales central coast.

In 2002, Karl and Chris embarked on their adventure into the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Galle Fort, Sri Lanka. They created the award-winning Galle Fort Hotel, securing the UNESCO Asia Pacific Award of Distinction for Conservation in 2007. The Galle Fort Hotel was a conversion of a 17th century Dutch East India Company director's home into a 12-room boutique hotel..

Dr. Yoshifumi Muneta is Associate Professor at the Department of Environmental Design Kyoto Prefectural University, Kyoto, and Visiting Researcher at the National Research Institute of Cultural Properties, Tokyo. He was previously Visiting Researcher at the National Museum of Ethnology, Osaka, and the Italian National Council of Research, Institute of Mediterranean Economic Studies.

He has also served as Program Coordinator, at the United Nations, Centre for Regional Development (UNCRD). He studied conservation at Pisa University and Rome University and obtained his PhD in Engineering at Kyoto University. He is on the Board of Directors, International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), Japan National Committee. He is a Councilor of the Kyoto Townscape and Planning Center, Kyoto City Hall, President, Nakagyo Ward Town Planning Committee (1998-2010), Kyoto City, and a member of the City Planning Board, National Committee for Social Capital Development, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism. In his capacity as advisor to various city wards and town planning committees, he has been a leading inspiration behind historic townhouse and historic district revitalization in Kyoto.

His latest publications are entitled "Planning for Cultural Tourism Development" and "Theory of Machiya Revival" both published in 2009. He has also written a book on how Italian cities preserved their beauty while revitalising their economies, showing from Italy's experience that city regeneration is the key to being a successful tourist destination.

Hou Weidong is Deputy Head, Chinese Academy of Cultural Heritage, China.

Gurmeet S. Rai is a conservation architect based in New Delhi, India. She established CRCI, a conservation consultancy firm in 1996. Since its inception the firm has undertaken a wide range of projects within the domain of cultural heritage conservation and management practice in India.

The works of CRCI include architectural documentation, historic building conservation planning, projects related to cultural heritage tourism and management, capacity building and training etc. The clients include the Archaeological Survey of India, Ministry of Tourism-Government of India, State Governments, private foundations, institutions, Asian Development Bank, UNESCO and others.

Some of the significant projects include preparation of conservation management plans for the World Heritage Sites of the Red Fort in Delhi and Ellora Caves in Maharashtra, conservation plans for historic buildings in the Golden temple in Amritsar. The works of CRCI have received numerous awards and recognition from various organizations including UNESCO and Government of Punjab in India.

Verena Ong is a Heritage Consultant with over 23 years of experience in conservation of heritage buildings and sites. She graduated with B.Sc (Arch) and B.Arch. from the University of New South Wales, and obtained her M.Herit.Cons. from the University of Sydney. Between 1991 and 2006, she was Senior Heritage Specialist and Conservation Project Manager at the Government Architect's Office, NSW Department of Commerce (former Department of Public Works and Services).

She has undertaken Total Asset Management Plans and Heritage and Conservation Registers for numerous government agencies and educational institutions. She was Strategic Heritage Advisor to the NSW Department of Housing, and over a period of 8 years, undertook the conservation and heritage asset management of public housing stock at Millers Point, a historic precinct in the shadow of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, as well as other projects to enhance the cultural significance of the place. She has won numerous awards, including the Award for Achievement in Development in Millers Point (2002) by the National Association of Women in Construction. Verena is currently Senior Heritage Specialist to Conybeare Morrison International P/L, Sydney, and the projects she is involved with include the conservation and adaptive reuse of heritage buildings under the care of Sydney Harbour Federation Trust at Middle Head, Sydney, and Wollongong North Beach Bathers Pavilion.

Mayor Eva Marie S. Medina is Mayor of Vigan City, Ilocos Sur, Philippines. She obtained her B.S. Architecture from the University of Santo Tomas, Manila. She was elected first Lady Chief Executive of Vigan in 1995 and served for three terms up to 2004; and in 2007 to the present. Under her administration, Vigan was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999 and regained its city status in 2001. Under her stewardship, the yearly allocation of 1 % of the city’s Internal Revenue Allotment for Arts and Culture as well as the Vigan Conservation Guidelines were institutionalized. This paved the way for the creation of the Vigan Conservation Council, the clearing house for construction, restoration and renovation of buildings in the Core and Buffer zones. The Vigan Cultural Mapping Project was accomplished resulting to the establishment of Buridek, Vigan Children’s Museum and the Vigan River Cruise. The Heritage Homeowners’ Preservation Manual was prepared, a joint undertaking of the UNESCO, the University of Northern Philippines and the City Government. Vigan is known as the Cleanest, Greenest and Safest City of Ilocandia (2003-present), the Most Child Friendly Component City of the Philippines (2008) and the Best Performing Local Government Unit of the Ilocos Region.


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this conference
(registration form
in PDF)

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Conference brochure
with program, speakers' profile and registration form, download here.

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Click here for
more information
about George Town
World Heritage Site.

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Click here for further information
Heritage website
Melaka and George Town, Historic Cities of the Straits of Malacca

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George Town:
The Challenge
of World
Heritage Listing

by Khoo Salma Nasution
Heritage Asia
October-December 2008

Click here
for pdf article

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Photos by Khoo Salma & Adrian Cheah. © 2009 All right reserved.