Dawson Munjeri

Dawson Munjeri holds a degree in History and African Language from the University of Zimbabwe and a Diploma in Information Systems from the University of Wales. In 1983 he became director and manager of the site of Great Zimbabwe, which was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1986. He then became the head of the National Monuments and Museums of Zimbabwe. It was in this capacity that he really began to get involved in the World Heritage Convention by receiving the first meeting in the framework of the Global Strategy in Harare in 1995. He also hosted the meeting on authenticity and integrity in the African context in 2000 in Greater Zimbabwe. He has been a member of ICOMOS since 1993 and served as a Vice-President from 1999 to 2003. In this context, he contributed to the organization of the first ICOMOS General Assembly in Africa at Victoria Falls in 2003. He also carried out several evaluation missions for ICOMOS.

Dawson Munjeri was a member of the Zimbabwean delegation to the World Heritage Committee from 1997 to 2003 and served as Vice President and Rapporteur at the 24th session of the Committee in Cairns in 2000. He was also a member of several expert groups, notably the one tasked with reviewing the Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention from 2000 to 2004 and another to draft the text of the 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage. He is the author of numerous publications on oral history, intangible heritage, authenticity and cultural landscapes, as well as a doctoral thesis on international laws governing the protection of heritage. Beginning in 2002, he was the Permanent Delegate of Zimbabwe to UNESCO for several years.

The audio excerpts are from an interview with Dawson Munjeri by Christina Cameron in August 2010 in Brasilia. He draws on his rich experience with the World Heritage Convention to comment on the implementation of the Convention in the African context. He also gives warning about the politicization of the Committee and recalls that only properties of Outstanding Universal Value should be inscribed on the World Heritage List.

UNESCO, World Heritage Oral Archives, Canada Research Chair on Built Heritage, University of Montreal, audio interview of Dawson Munjeri by Christina Cameron, Brasilia, Brazil, 3 August 2010.