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USI and UNESCO consolidate their joint collaboration

The Monte San Giorgio fossils (Photo: www.swiss-image.ch)
The Monte San Giorgio fossils (Photo: www.swiss-image.ch)
The Brusio spiral viaduct of the Rhaetian Railway (Photo www.swiss-image.ch)
The Brusio spiral viaduct of the Rhaetian Railway (Photo www.swiss-image.ch)
The Catles of Bellinzona (Photo: www.swiss-image.ch)
The Catles of Bellinzona (Photo: www.swiss-image.ch)

Media and Communication Service

The UNESCO Chair in ICT to develop and promote sustainable tourism in World Heritage Sites (www.unescochair.usi.ch) at USI was granted a renewal for the next four-year period, until August 2021. In addition, the Swiss Commission for UNESCO (SCU) now has a renewed website (www.unesco.ch), which was redefined and redesigned – and translated into Italian – by the UNESCO Chair at USI.

The UNESCO Chair at USI, which was established in September 2013, is directed by Prof. Lorenzo Cantoni and is committed to perform research and teaching on how ICT, especially the Internet, can be effectively exploited to develop and promote sustainable tourism at World Heritage Sites. The Chair is member of the UNESCO UNITWIN-Network “Culture, Tourism, Development”, directed by Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne.

 

Four years of courses, research and campaigns 

During its first mandate (September 2013 – August 2017), a variety of activities have been performed, including the organization of four summer schools, the launch of the first MOOC in eTourism (“eTourism: Communication Perspectives”), the development and implementation of a World Heritage Awareness Campaign for Youth (WHACY), and the development of a mobile application for the Bellinzona Castles and the San Giorgio Mountain. Furthermore, it has participated in many international and national events, has produced 5 reports on the online presence of World Heritage Sites around the world, and published over 50 scientific papers. Thanks to the online social media campaign #faces4heritage (www.faces4heritage.org) – an  initiative in support of the global UNESCO campaign #Unite4Heritage, aimed at challenging violent extremism and sensitizing society about the importance of preserving and defending Heritage – in February 2016, the Chair received a prize in an international university contest, and the team, led by the coordinator of the Chair, Dr. Silvia De Ascaniis, was invited to present the campaign in Washington D.C. at the Department of State.

 

A new platform for UNESCO.CH

In 2016, the Chair received a mandate by the Swiss Commission for UNESCO (SCU) to perform a strategic analysis of its online communication and to help re-design it. The mandate was carried out in two steps. In the first phase, different methodologies were adopted to analyze SCU’s communication activities: a benchmark analysis of the websites of other national commissions for UNESCO, an analysis of usages of the existing SCU’s online outlet (i.e. website, newsletter, videos), a usability analysis of intended users of the website, and a user requirements elicitation analysis realized with the URL methodology (User Requirements with Lego) developed at USI. In the second phase, SCU’s new website was designed and implemented and a comprehensive editorial strategy and guidelines for Search Engine Optimization were defined.  Differently from the previous version, which was published only in German and French, the new website is also fully available in Italian. eLab of USI (www.elearninglab.org/en/) was in charge of the design, development, and technical support. The website is addressed to a varied audience, providing contents and services to institutional and policy actors, professionals, academia, civil society. The renewed version is now available at the following address: www.unesco.ch/it/.

According to prof. Cantoni, “the collaboration with SCU has been a great opportunity for us to apply methodologies to analyze and strategically plan online communication we have developed in our research at USI, to serve the Swiss “UNESCO family”, and to promote a further presence of the Italian speaking part of Switzerland within it”. 

According to Nicolas Mathieu, Secretary General of the SCU, “this fruitful collaboration enabled the SCU to link more closely with the USI, which is, notably with its UNESCO Chair, sharing the values of the organization and engaged in implementing them through scientific cooperation.”

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