Marie Huber M.A.



Marie Huber holds a Master’s Degree in History and Sociology from the TU Berlin. After her thesis on the German Historical Museum and two years as a researcher in the field of urbanism she is now a PhD student at the HU Berlin. She spent nine months as an invited scholar at the Université Paris 1 in 2014/15 and was an invited scholar at the French Center for Ethiopian Studies and the University of Addis Ababa from in 2015/16. In her PhD project she investigates the role of developing countries in the historic genesis of UNESCO World Heritage; the project is supervised by Andreas Eckert and Sandrine Kott and funded by the Gerda Henkel foundation.

Doctoral Research

The World Heritage Convention has today become a major success story, but it started out as just one of many instruments to implement UNESCO’s mission in the cultural field. It is among the few almost universally ratified international treaties and the adjacent programme, the World Heritage Programme and the widely known and popular World Heritage List, serves as a flagship-programme of UNESCO. Further diversified branches of heritage conservation have evolved from the original natural and cultural heritage, such as the intangible heritage and cultural landscapes.

While research begins to look into the historic genesis of the concept and the institutional history of the Programme, very little attention is given to the role of developing countries in the beginnings of the Programme. But in fact the programme owes it’s success today to dynamics rooting back to developing countries’ involvement in the early years. And while international organisations and development receive growing attention, the relevance of technical assistance in the cultural field is not recognised at all. UNESCO was highly active in the field of conservation in developing countries at a time that the establishment and promotion of a national heritage was perceived desirable especially by many developing countries. My thesis closely follows the emergence and enacting of agendas, the networks and actors involved in this and as such reveals hidden driving forces and continuities within the programme through studying the case of Ethiopian cultural and natural heritage in the years between 1960 and 1990.

Deeper understanding of developing countries in the World Heritage Programme is indispensable to explaining its success today in addition providing an essential contribution to the historic understanding of the development discourse.

Image source: ICOMOS documentation center

Academic Writing

Making Ethiopian Heritage World Heritage – UNESCOs Role in Ethiopian Cultural and Natural Heritage, in: Annales d’Éthiopie vol. 31 (Forthcoming, 2017)

This paper traces the earliest activities of UNESCO in regard to the making of Ethiopian heritage from 1960 to the 1980s in the context of the institutional development of heritage in Ethiopia. The history of policy making and conservation efforts existing on the ground in Ethiopia gives insight to the role of institutions, both national and international, in the heritage-making process.

Review of: Cameron, Christina; Rössler, Mechtild: Many Voices, One Vision. The Early Years of the World Heritage Convention. Farnham, Surrey 2013 , in: H-Soz-Kult, 2016

Academic Presentations


Developing Countries in the Historic Genesis of UNESCO World Heritage: Ethiopia, at: Heritage on a Global Scale? Uses of ‘Historical Authenticity’ beyond the Nation State, MasterClass with Aleida and Jan Assmann, IEG Mainz

Creating Destinations for a Better Tomorrow: International Technical Assistance to National Tourism Sectors in Developing Countries During the First UN Development Decade (1960-1970), at: How to Change the World. Entangled Histories of Development, Shanghai University


Developing Countries and the Beginnings of the UNESCO World Heritage Programme: a Case Study of the First Ethiopian World Heritage Sites, at: Young Research on the Horn of Africa (WAKHVA), ZMO Berlin

Economies of World Heritage: cultural and natural heritage as an emerging resource for Ethiopia between 1960-1980 – at: VAD Nachwuchstagung, Berlin

Images of Tourism – Images of Heritage:  Establishing National Heritage through Tourism Promotion in Ethiopia from ca. 1960-1989, Seminar Series: "Past and Present: History, Memory and Heritage", Centre Français des études éthiopiennes, Addis Ababa

Research Activities


2014-2017 PhD-grant (3 year full funding) Gerda-Henkel-Stiftung

2014-2015 Erasmus+ for 2 Semesters at the Université Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne

2014 Supporting Grant for Research and Travel from PhilFak 1 of HU Berlin

Berhanu Abebe Library, Centre Français des études éthiopiennes, Addis Ababa / Image source: Marie Huber

Archival Research

UNESCO Archives, Paris

ICOMOS Documentation Centre, Paris

IUCN Library, Gland

EWCO, Addis Ababa

IES, Addis Ababa

National Archive, Addis Ababa

ARCCH, Addis Ababa

Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, NYPL, New York

Field Trips

World Heritage sites, northern Ethiopia: Simien, Lalibela, Aksum, Gondar

UNESCO mission to Ethiopian Biosphere Reserves: Kaffa, Sheka, Yayu

Detail of a letterhead from the official stationary of the CFEE (c. 1965) / Image source: Marie Huber


Verschworener Aufbruch auf den Philippinen, in Baunetzwoche #447, 31.03.2016