What success in heritage management? State-of-the-art conservation of a historic property?  Reviving a long-lost traditional practice?  Increasing the number of visitors to the site?  Restoring local ecology and landscape?  Improving local well-being? Even before the global pandemic, there has been a push for the heritage sector to expand its boundaries and rethink its priorities. Sustainable heritage management is no longer just about conserving heritage values, but also about creating new value through innovative business and governance models.

The Sustainable Heritage Management Masterclass series offers a deep dive into innovative case studies in the region, including World Heritage properties and UNESCO Asia-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation projects. Each Masterclass unveils various competences needed in managing the selected heritage site. Guided by expert facilitators, participants will interact with project teams and solve challenges by applying newly-acquired tools.

The Masterclass series covers knowledge and skills in the UNESCO Competence Framework for Cultural Heritage Management. It is developed by UNESCO Bangkok in cooperation with Fraunhofer IMW and Think City Institute, with support from the Ng Teng Fong Charitable Foundation.

Masterclass 2 on Designing Public-private Partnerships Fort Cornwallis, George Town World Heritage site, Penang, Malaysia
The second course in the Masterclass series will explore the public-private partnerships (PPP) driving the conservation and management of Fort Cornwallis within the World Heritage site in George Town, Penang, Malaysia. Unpack the lessons learned from this case and learn how to design a partnership scheme among various stakeholders for the sustainable management of a heritage property.
Course Objective Participants will learn how to strengthen effective management of heritage properties through collaborative public-private partnership models that encourage active interactions between all actors for sustainable development.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, participants should be able to:
  • Develop strategic public-private partnership proposals for managing a heritage property
  • Acquire new competences (skills and knowledge) relevant to cultural heritage management, with a focus on the managerial competences defined by UNESCO (such as organizational governance/heritage planning/strategic management, human capital management, financial management, communication/collaboration/coordination)
  • Apply analytic thinking and problem-solving tools in a heritage management context

Learning Experience

This online course is a combination of self-paced learning and interactive live tutorial sessions. Participants will join plenary discussions, group work and mentoring sessions. At the end of the class, you will receive feedback on your work from the project team, course facilitators and organizers, as well as external commentators. There will be a total of six live sessions as below, spread over a 6-week period, with interim time between live sessions for self-paced learning and group work.
Orientation session Session 1 Session 2 Session 3 Session 4 Session 5
  • Intro to course
  • Intro to facilitators and participants
PPPs: overview and tools Case study: Fort Cornwallis
  • Presentation of PPP group work, peer critique and feedback
  • Expert panel on comparative PPP models in heritage management
  • Final pitch by groups to local organizations
  • Plenary discussion
  • Presentation of individual PPP proposals
  • Course finale
Note: the course arrangements are subject to further change

Class Resources

Case study Participants will gain access to the Fort Cornwallis Case Study that was specifically developed for this Masterclass. The case study will walk you through the story of the recent conservation of Fort Cornwallis, ending with a management challenge faced by the project team. You will learn about the Fort’s heritage significance, its historical and cultural setting, stakeholders involved, key decision points and public-private partnership strategies that were developed. Participants will work in teams to respond to the challenge by using newly-acquired knowledge and skills from the course in combination with your own experience. Course handbook The course handbook will provide a guide to how the class will be organized. It will detail the session contents, schedule, group work/assignments and discussion topics for the class. Self-paced learning on the case and management topics You will learn more about the case through a number of newly-produced videos for this Masterclass by the project team. In addition, you will be provided a curated list of publications and videos in relation to cultural heritage management with a focus on the managerial skills and knowledge that are relevant to the case. This will include teaching videos about PPP and tools that can support PPP initiatives.


Donovan Rypkema
Donovan Rypkema is the president of Heritage Strategies International and principal of PlaceEconomics. Working at the nexus of heritage conservation and economic development, Rypkema has undertaken assignments in more than 50 countries and 49 US states. He is a member of the Board of Directors of Global Urban Development, a member of the ICOMOS International Scientific Committee on the Economics of Conservation, and currently serves on the Real Estate Market Advisory Committee of the UN Economic Commission for Europe and the Advisory Board of Doh Eain, a Yangon-based NGO. Rypkema holds a master’s degree in Historic Preservation from Columbia University. He teaches a graduate course in preservation economics at the University of Pennsylvania. In 2012 Rypkema received the Crowninshield Award from the National Trust, the highest preservation honour and awarded for lifetime contribution to historic preservation in the United States.

Desmond Hui Desmond Hui is Professor and Head of Department of Art and Design at The Hang Seng University of Hong Kong. He obtained his Bachelor of Architecture from Cornell University; then Master and Doctor of Philosophy in History of Art and Architecture from the University of Cambridge. A registered architect in both Hong Kong and Canada, he has held Visiting, Honorary and Adjunct Professorship in Mainland China and Hong Kong. Formerly he was Associate Dean of Arts and Professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. He taught architecture previously at the University of Hong Kong and was Director of the Centre for Cultural Policy Research at HKU. He has served in the UNESCO expert facility of the 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions and is now regional expert for the UNESCO Culture/2030 Indicators Initiative.

Fort Cornwallis Project Partners


Penang Chief Minister Incorporated (CMI) is a state-run company that acts as the State’s investment arm. It manages various projects across different fields, including housing development, hospitality & tourism, heritage & archaeology, art & culture, educational programmes, public parks & public space upgrading, sports development and STEM (Science, Technology, English & Math) programmes.


George Town Conservation and Development Corporation Sdn. Bhd. (GTCDC) is a partnership between the Penang State Government’s Chief Minister’s Incorporated (CMI) and Think City Sdn Bhd with Aga Khan Trust for Culture as the technical advisor. It is a special purpose vehicle set up to improve the public realm following the George Town Special Area Plan. These include the Waterfront Precinct, the Clan Jetties and the Street of Harmony neighbourhoods. Among its key objectives are the regeneration, upgrading and activation of public spaces and selected heritage buildings in the UNESCO World Heritage Site including Fort Cornwallis and Syed Al-Attas Mansion.

Think City

Think City is an impact organisation established in 2009 to create more sustainable and equitable places for the benefit of all. Our knowledge, skills and strategies focus on urban solutions, the environment, social communities and the cultural economy.  Think City is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Khazanah Nasional (the sovereign wealth fund of the Government of Malaysia).


Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC) is an agency of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), an institution created by Aga Khan IV with the mandates to focus on the physical, social, cultural and economic revitalisation of communities in the developing world. It includes the Aga Khan Award for Architecture, the Aga Khan Historic Cities Programme, the Aga Khan Music Initiative, the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto, Canada, the online resource and related programmes.



UNESCO is the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, established to promote peace via education, science and culture. As the only UN agency mandated to promoting culture, UNESCO’s programmes recognizes culture as a driver for sustainable development, and contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals defined in Agenda 2030, adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2015. 


Since its foundation in 2005, the Fraunhofer Center for International Management and Knowledge Economy IMW has been consolidating its expertise and range of services in internationalization and the knowledge economy. The Fraunhofer IMW aims to enable a favorable environment for innovation and knowledge transfer by developing scientifically sound solutions to challenges presented by globalization and ensuring the lasting success of its clients and partners from business and industry, research, and civil society.


The Think City Institute (TCI) is the culmination of a decade of know-how, experimentation and expertise derived from Think City’s projects and knowledge networks in ASEAN and beyond. TCI will offer resources from our Knowledge Repository, and courses, built inhouse and with our international partners, to all levels of professionals looking to elevate proficiencies in city-making and urban development.


Heritage practitioners who are looking to improve skills and knowledge about heritage management in a practical manner will benefit most from this course.

  • Heritage managers and technical specialists in heritage-related institutions
  • Government entities that are involved in management of heritage properties
  • Private entities interested/involved in heritage projects and business opportunities
  • Local stewards and community actors at heritage sites

The course requires no formal education in cultural heritage management, but working experience in the heritage field will be valued. Professionals in other fields who are currently involved in heritage projects will also benefit from this course.


Participants will:

  • Learn new skills and knowledge from UNESCO’s Competence Framework using the case method to dissect the success factors of an innovative heritage management case study.
  • Improve networking through interactions with the project teams, facilitators, resource people and fellow participants from a range of disciplines and countries around the Asia-Pacific region.


Participants will receive a certificate to acknowledge successful completion of this class, subject to full attendance of the course sessions and submission of the required assignments.



Course participants will be chosen through an application process. You will be directed to the payment process by the organizers upon successful acceptance to the Masterclass.

  • Fee: 300 USD

Limited scholarships are available, with a priority for applicants from Least Developed Countries. Please indicate your need for scholarship in your application email.


  • APPLY NOW by downloading the application form here.
  • Please send the application or any inquiries to Ms. Injee Kim at UNESCO Bangkok ( by 14 October 2022.

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