International Day for Monuments and Sites, often known as World Heritage Day, is a "day to celebrate and promote cultural heritage, and an opportunity to raise awareness about its diversity, its relevance, how vulnerable it can be and what the needs and benefits of its conservation are." On April 18, 1982, at a symposium in Tunisia that was organized by the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), a suggestion was proposed by ICOMOS that a global "International Day for Monuments and Sites" should be held to celebrate the diversity of heritage around the world. The ICOMOS Executive Committee approved the day, and they gave suggestions to the National Committees on how to organize it. Following this, the UNESCO General Conference passed a resolution in November 1983 at its 22nd session, which recommended that Member States look into the possibility of declaring an "International Monuments and Sites Day" on April 18 each year.
Each year, ICOMOS comes up with a different theme for the day. ICOMOS National Committees may also come up with themes that are pertinent to their own nations as well. Many different events are held on the day, being organized by ICOMOS International and National Committees, as well as by other organizations. Monuments and heritage sites are visited; completed and in-progress conservation works are stopped at; conferences, lectures, interviews, and roundtable discussions are held; information is shared in newspapers and other forms of media. "World heritage" can be defined as the shared worth of humankind, and today marks a day of solidarity where it is celebrated, and where there is an understanding that the international community is needed to protect and preserve it.
ICOMOS gives many suggestions on how to celebrate the day. Here are some:
- Visit sites, monuments, or places where restoration and conservation are being done. Perhaps you could visit some of the places on UNESCO's World Heritage List.
- Reach out to the media—newspapers, magazine, television, radio etc.—about the day.
- Hang banners about the day in public places.
- Invite local and foreign experts and personalities for conferences and interviews.
- Organize a discussion to take place in a cultural center, city hall, or other public space.
- Give out awards or prizes to people and organizations who have made a substantial contribution to conservation or promotion of cultural heritage.
- See what official events are happening near you.
- If you organized your own event, submit it. You can also post about your event on social media using the hashtags #18April and #ICOMOS.
- Donate to ICOMOS.