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Press Release

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German Bundestag travels to Bethlehem for update on World Heritage Nomination

September 21st, 2022

BETHLEHEM, PA SEPT. 2022 — Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites hosted the German Bundestag to visit Historic Moravian Bethlehem on Monday, September 12.

HBMS President and CEO, LoriAnn Wukitsch welcomed the group to the Moravian Museum of Bethlehem, the oldest building in Bethlehem, and introduced them to the Bethlehem World Heritage Council Representatives from Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites, Bethlehem Area Moravians, The City of Bethlehem, Moravian University, and Central Moravian Church.

The Bethlehem World Heritage Council presented an update to the 16 members of the German Bundestag (Parliament) on Historic Moravian Bethlehem’s transnational, serial World Heritage nomination with Hernnhut, Germany and Gracehill, Northern Ireland, alongside Christiansfeld, a Moravian settlement in Denmark that received World Heritage designation in 2015. On the occasion of the Annual Congress-Bundestag Seminar, members of the German Bundestag traveled to Bethlehem to better understand the culture, history, and people of the Lehigh Valley. Jürgen Trittin, Chairman of the PG USA: “Historic Moravian Bethlehem is an extraordinary site given its exceptional cultural and architectural value. It is also monument to how a verfolgte community maintained their traditions even though their members spread over several countries.”

Delegates from the German Bundestag asked questions of the Bethlehem World Heritage Council Representatives. Representatives fielded questions about commonalities among Moravian settlements worldwide. They were also asked about Bethlehem’s early establishment as a model city, and how early Bethlehem Moravians governed within the closed economy of the settlement. Representatives also answered questions about the architecture of the buildings, and the low number of cultural World Heritage sites located in the US compared to natural sites. They acknowledged that there are currently only two Cultural UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

The German Bundestag concluded their visit with a walk through the Old Chapel and God’s Acre.

Bethlehem World Heritage Council representatives in attendance

LoriAnn Wukitsch, President & CEO, Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites
Bishop C. Hopeton Clennon, Central Moravian Church
Dan Soos, CEO, Bethlehem Area Moravians
Charlene Donchez Mowers, Senior Advisor, Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites
Curtis H. Barnette, Vice Chair, World Heritage Commission
Mayor J. William Reynolds, City of Bethlehem
Joel Rosenfeld, Board Chair, Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites
Amir Tejani, Special Advisor to the President, Moravian University

Other attendees included:
Pat Witmer, Corporate Vice President of Corporate Affairs at B. Braun of America Inc.
Jean-Claude Dubacher, Chairman & CEO of B. Braun of America Inc
Tina Smith, Director of Community and Economic Development County of Northampton.

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