Keynote Speakers


Ege Yildirim: Dr. Ege Yildirim is an urban planner specializing in heritage conservation, with 20 years of experience working in Turkey and internationally. She previously worked at KA-BA Architecture Ltd (Ankara) and the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture & Heritage (UAE). She obtained her MA in Conservation at the University of York (1999) and her PhD in Social Environmental Sciences at Ankara University (2012). She was a Fulbright Scholar (Pratt Institute, New York, 2006-07), as part of her doctoral dissertation on ‘Urban Conservation Projects and Governance’, and a Kaplan Fellow for Site Management at Koç University (Istanbul, 2013). She is currently the ICOMOS Focal Point for the Sustainable Development Goals (2017-18), and a member of the International Society of City and Regional Planners (ISoCaRP) and Europa Nostra. Based in Istanbul since 2013, she is an independent consultant/ part-time instructor for various municipalities and universities, and since 2015, Heritage Site Manager of the Historic Guild Town of Mudurnu (Turkey).


Gamini Wijesuriya: Dr Gamini Wijesuriya is a renowned heritage expert from Asia with over 40 years of experience in the field, as well as with international organizations. Already Head of the Conservation for Sri Lanka at the age of 28, a position he held for 18 years, he went on to serve the New Zealand Department of Conservation as a Principal Regional Scientist. In 2004 he became the first Asian staff member of ICCROM and since then he has played a pivotal role in developing and implementing a wide variety of training and capacity-building activities that have influenced nearly 1,000 heritage practitioners worldwide. His international reputation has grown thanks to significant work on the ‘living’ cultural heritage of Asia which has influenced heritage practice internationally. His emphasis on people-centred approaches to conservation that secure benefits for society has gained standing worldwide. His involvement with World Heritage spans more than three decades in diverse positions, most recently as the Deputy Coordinator for World Heritage at ICCROM, with involvement in a wide range of activities including a lead role in developing the World Heritage Capacity Building Strategy and the resource manual on Managing Cultural World Heritage. He has served both on the ICCROM Council and as Vice-President of the World Archaeological Congress. He was a founding member of ICOMOS Sri Lanka when it was created in 1984 and was later Joint Secretary when Sri Lanka hosted its first General Assembly outside Europe in 1993. He has also served on their Executive Committee and contributed to their scientific committees on Archaeological Heritage Management, and Theory and Philosophy. He possesses academic and professional qualifications in architecture, archaeology, conservation and heritage management and has published widely.


Sudha Gopalakrishnan: Sudha is one of the founders of Sahapedia, as well as Vice President of Sahapedia’s governing body. She has over thirty years of experience in areas relating to policy, management, documentation and research pertaining to multiple aspects of Indian arts and heritage.  She received her PhD in Comparative Drama and Masters degree in English Language and Literature. She has prepared three successful nomination dossiers for the recognition of three heritage expressions—Kutiyattam, Vedic Chanting and Ramlila—as UNESCO  Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity’. Sudha was Mission Director, National Mission for Manuscripts, from 2003-2007. She has published 8 books (including original writing, translation and edited volumes) and contributed papers in national and international publications.

Tim Badman: Tim Badman is Director of the World Heritage Programme at IUCN, and accountable for IUCN’s official advice to the 1972 UNESCO World Heritage Convention) and joint work with UNESCO, ICOMOS and ICCROM. He joined IUCN in August 2007, working previously in local government in Dorset County Council (UK) as Environment Policy Manager and as the team leader of the Dorset and East Devon Coast World Heritage Site, and in Hampshire County Council. His policy work has focused on coastal zone management and included regional roles on behalf of UK local government on regulation of offshore development related to oil and gas, and extractive industries. Tim has been a member of IUCN’s World Commission for Protected Areas since 2002 and has served on IUCN’s World Heritage Panel since 2003. He is the focal point for IUCN’s work on earth science and represents IUCN on the UNESCO Global Geoparks Council.