We want to share important information related to our efforts to add the Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks in Licking County, Ross County and Warren County to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage List. As you may have heard, the State Department has confirmed that the U.S. plans to withdraw from UNESCO on December 31, 2018.
That said, we are optimistic that our work to add the Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks to the World Heritage List will not be impacted. Earlier today the Department of the Interior indicated that the U.S. will still participate in World Heritage. There is precedent for this: during the Reagan Administration, the U.S. withdrew its UNESCO membership but still participated in the World Heritage Committee. During the next 19 years (1984-2002) when the U.S. remained a non-member, a substantial number of U.S. sites were inscribed.
For over a decade we have worked to recognize these unquestionably worthy Ohio American Indian earthworks on the World Heritage List. American Indian Tribal Nations and national and international cultural heritage experts consistently affirm the global cultural significance of these sites. We remain optimistic that the Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks will be the next U.S. World Heritage nomination. Our work continues toward bringing this prestigious recognition to Ohio.