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For more information contact:
Ethan Gelber, BikeAbout: +1.212.866-9306, hub@bikeabout.org
Secretariat General, Organization of World Heritage Cities: +1.418.692-0000, secretariat@ovpm.org

Organization of World Heritage Cities Joins UNESCO World Heritage Centre in Support of BikeAbout

BikeAbout Seeks to Raise Awareness of World Heritage Sites in the Mediterranean

July 17, 1997

New York, NY -- The Organization of World Heritage Cities (OWHC) today announced its support for BikeAbout's educational Internet adventure in the Mediterranean as the team of five BikeAbout cyclists endeavor to increase awareness of, and access to, World Heritage sites in the Mediterranean basin.

BikeAbout-the Mediterranean is the first "wired" and full circumnavigation of the Mediterranean Sea by bicycle. The all-volunteer, international expedition and team effort is designed to foster an understanding and sense of unity in the Mediterranean through the use of modern technology and cycling. The OWHC joins the UNESCO World Heritage Centre in helping to improve BikeAbout's access to World Heritage sites and the learning opportunities that they hold. BikeAbout will share its experiences, via its Web site, with an Internet-based web of schools and partner organizations in the Mediterranean and the U.S. as part of an educational program.

Marcel Junius, Secretary General of the OWHC, said that, "We think an educational message of this kind could be usefully made to the people you will meet in your tour by using the monuments and the people contacts as pedagogic tools for a better world."

Beginning in September, a team of five BikeAbout riders equipped with computers provided by Compaq will set out eastward along the Moroccan coast and bicycle the full circumference of the Mediterranean, finishing in Gibraltar in June, more than 10,000 miles later. The journey will take BikeAbout and an excited Internet network of schools and enterprises through Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, Palestine, Israel, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey, Greece, Albania, Yugoslavia (Montenegro), Bosnia, Croatia, Slovenia, Italy, Monaco, France, Spain, and Gibraltar. (Unfortunately, current political and security considerations will require the riders to make detours around Algeria and Libya.)

Some of the many Mediterranean World Heritage sites that lie along the BikeAbout itinerary are located in 17 member cities of the OWHC. These cities, and many others, will serve as points of interest and activity for the BikeAbout riders. Nation- and region-specific issues, as well as discussions of the more general notion of world heritage, prompted by the historical, cultural and natural importance of these sites and their host cities, will play an important part in the various activities sparked by BikeAbout's presence in the Mediterranean.

BikeAbout

BikeAbout is a non-profit organization specializing in Internet adventures that promote education, peace and cooperative understanding through bicycling and the improved use of technology in all learning environments. BikeAbout aims to increase awareness of and access to world regions and their people by traveling by bicycle, meeting the people, and using the unique capabilities of the Internet to share information with students, teachers and other on-lookers around the world. Networked schools and enterprises following the Journeys via the BikeAbout site on the World Wide Web (http://www.bikeabout.org) join in a shared educational adventure of discovery and exchange. The subsequent web of contacts spun by BikeAbout riders and collaborators helps make it possible to continue to share information about the world with the world.

The Organization of World Heritage Cities

The Organization of World Heritage Cities, currently composed of 134 cities, was created to assist member cities adapt and improve their management methods in relation to the specific requirements of having a site inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List, as called for by the international treaty called the Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, adopted by UNESCO's General Conference in 1972 The OWHC’s initiatives, which are geared to the implementation of the World Heritage Convention, cover several areas, including: training municipal managers to deal with the challenges pertaining to the development and preservation of historic sites; heighten awareness among UN, UNESCO and NATO officials of the importance of better protecting historic cities in the event of armed conflicts; establishing an electronic communications network linking member cities through the Internet and the creation of a data bank on historic cities.

For more information about the Organization of World Heritage Cities, please consult http://www.ovpm.org.


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