Alissandra Cummins

Following studies in art history at the University of East Anglia, Alissandra Cummins completed her Masters in Museum Studies at the University of Leicester in England. Originally from Barbados, she specializes in heritage, museum development and Caribbean art. Director of the Barbados Museum & Historical Society since 1985, she is also editor-in-chief of the International Journal of Intangible Heritage and lecturer at the University of the West Indies. Between 1999 and 2004, she chaired the Advisory Council of the International Council of Museums (ICOM) before being elected President of that same organization from 2004 to 2010. She received the Gold Crown of Merit from the Order of Barbados in 2005. Her publications include Plantation to Nation: Caribbean Museums and National Identity, which she co-edited in 2013.

Alissandra Cummins has been involved with UNESCO for many years. President of the Barbados National Commission for UNESCO since 1999, she was elected to head UNESCO's Executive Board for the period 2012-2013. Previously, she was Chair of UNESCO's Intergovernmental Committee for Promoting the Return of Cultural Property to its Country of Origin or its Restitution in Case of Illicit Appropriation (2003-2005) and the International Advisory Committee for the Program Memory of the World (2007-2009). Following the election of Barbados to the World Heritage Committee in 2007, she served as Rapporteur at the Committee's session in 2008, and then as Vice-President in 2009 and 2011. Equally active at the regional level, she was Secretary of the Caribbean Conservation Association (1988-1990), President of the International Association for Caribbean Archaeology (1991-1995) and founder President of the Museums Association of the Caribbean (1989 - 1992).

The following audio excerpts are from an interview with Alissandra Cummins by Christina Cameron in July 2017 in Krakow. Ms. Cummins emphasized the importance for Small Island Developing States to claim their place in the activities of the World Heritage Convention, both locally and internationally. In view of the heavy workload of the World Heritage Centre, she encourages all States Parties to become more involved and cooperate more in the work of the Convention.

UNESCO, World Heritage Oral Archives, Canada Research Chair on Built Heritage, University of Montreal, audio interview of Alissandra Cummins by Christina Cameron, Krakow, Poland, 7 July 2017.