Cameroonian Becomes First African at Helm of UNESCO World Heritage

By Augustine Nyuykongi

53-year-old Lazare Eloundou Assomo has become the first-ever African born to be the Director of the UNESCO World Heritage.

He was appointed on December 06, 2021, by Audrey Azoulay, the Director-General of UNESCO. Before his appointment, Lazare Eloundou Assomo was previously at the helm of the Culture and Emergency Situations sector within UNESCO.

Ahead of the 50th anniversary of the UNESCO, the new director of the World Heritage has hinted that there is still much to be done in terms of representing all countries. “Many regions in the world are not sufficiently represented especially Africa and the Small Island States. It is not because we do not have Eifel towers that the sites are not important or do not have outstanding universal value.” Lazare Eloundou Assomo said.

Born in Cameroon, Lazare Eloundou Assomo departed for France at the age of 17 to Study Architecture and Town Planning. He began his professional career as an Associate Researcher at the International Center for Earth Construction at the Grenoble School of Architecture in 1996.

Lazare Eloundou joined UNESCO in 2003 and contributed to the creation of the African World Heritage Fund. He went on to coordinate several heritage restoration projects in Africa, particularly in Mozambique, Mali, and Uganda.

Between 2013 to 2016, Lazare Eloundou headed the UNESCO office in Bamako, Mali with the mission of rebuilding, rehabilitating, and desacralizing the Mausoleums of Timbuktu.

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