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World Heritage Youth Summit success

The UNESCO World Heritage Youth Summit, held in Blaenavon this week, has been a great success with more than 100 young people attending from across the UK.

Groups from World Heritage Sites such as Saltaire and the Jurassic Coast, as well as others from around Wales and the UK took part in the summit, visiting sites such as Big Pit and the Iron Works to learn about the pivotal role Blaenavon played in the industrial revolution.

They also held debates about the importance of World Heritage, and examined how heritage can be used to improve their own communities.

The summit also welcomed a special guest, 23 year old Youth Peace Ambassador Rimesh Khanal from Nepal. Mr Khanal spoke to the summit about the devastating earth quakes in Nepal earlier this year, where thousands of people died and many of the country’s historical buildings were destroyed.

Ashleigh Taylor, heritage officer for Torfaen, organised the summit. She said: “We have had a fantastic two days and everyone who came has had a great time. This was an opportunity for us to showcase the Blaenavon World Heritage Site to the rest of the UK, but also to spark conversation and debate amongst young people, and empower them to use their own heritage as a tool to improve their communities.

“Rimesh brought a unique perspective to the event – many people take historical sites in their community for granted, but in Nepal, these sites were destroyed forever in just a few seconds. It really hammered home just how important these sites are, and why it is important to protect them.”

Councillor Bob Wellington CBE said: “I must thank everyone who worked incredibly hard to make this event such a success. It was wonderful to see so many young people exploring Blaenavon and discovering how this little town once helped to build the modern world.”

Posted on: Monday 26th October 2015