City of Bethlehem Welcomes State Minister Michelle Muntefering, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Germany

Monday, October 18, 2021
1:15 pm City of Bethlehem Town Hall
Robert J. Donchez, Mayor of the City of Bethlehem and Chair of the Bethlehem World Heritage Commission, is pleased to announce the visit to Bethlehem on Monday, October 18 of Ms. Michelle Müntefering, Deputy Minister for International Cultural Policies at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Germany.
The Deputy Foreign Minister will present a letter to Mr. Stephen Morris, Chief of the Office of International Affairs and World Heritage Program Coordinator at the National Park Service, U.S. State Department of the Interior, confirming the agreement of the German Government to collaborate with the United Stated on the joint World Heritage nomination for a transnational series of historic Moravian Church Settlements including Bethlehem in the USA, Herrnhut in Germany and Gracehill, Northern Ireland in the United Kingdom.  On her visit, Deputy Foreign Minister Müntefering will be accompanied by the German Consul General in New York, Mr. David Gill.
Mayor Donchez, Catherine Turton, representing Stephen Morris of the Office of International Affairs of the National Park Service; Northampton County Executive Lamont McClure; Curtis H. Barnette, Vice-Chair of Bethlehem World Heritage Commission; Charlene Donchez Mowers, President of the Bethlehem World Heritage Commission and Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites; Dan Soos, CEO of the Bethlehem Area Moravians; Bishop Hopeton Clennon, Senior Pastor of Central Moravian Church; and Dr. Bryon Grigsby, President of Moravian University will meet with Deputy Minister Müntefering.
While in Bethlehem, Deputy Minister Müntefering will tour Historic Moravian Bethlehem National Historic Landmark District and the Moravian Archives. 
Historic Moravian Bethlehem was added to the U.S. World Heritage Tentative List in 2017 as a potential “extension” to the 2015 inscription on the World Heritage List of the Moravian Church Settlement of Christiansfeld in Denmark.  On September 15, the U.S. Department of the Interior authorized the Historic Moravian Bethlehem National Historic Landmark District to participate in a planned multi-country nomination to the World Heritage List of historic ‘Moravian Church Settlements’ in Europe and North America.
Bethlehem along with the German settlement of Herrnhut and with the proposed addition of Gracehill in Northern Ireland, UK, will develop a proposal to join Christiansfeld as a single World Heritage listing that represents the worldwide influence of the Moravian Church as manifest in a remarkable group of settlements. 
This would be the first multi-country cultural World Heritage nomination for the United States, whose current World Heritage sites include two cross-border natural sites with Canada.
The World Heritage List recognizes cultural and natural sites of universal importance.  There are 1,154 sites in 167 countries that have signed the World Heritage Convention.  Currently there are 24 World Heritage Sites in the United States.

The National Park Service is responsible for implementing the World Heritage Convention on behalf of the Department of the Interior and in cooperation with the Department of State.  The National Park Service’s Office of International Affairs will provide guidance on the development of the nomination and coordinate with the other participating countries. 

On September 14 and 15, representatives from Historic Moravian Bethlehem and from the historic Moravian communities of Herrnhut, Gracehill and Christiansfeld met in Bethlehem to work on the nomination.  On September 15 at Town Hall, there was an official meeting of this Transnational Working Group to sign a Voluntary Association Agreement.