The Ninth World Congress of the Organization of World Heritage Cities (OWHC) was held June 19–23, 2007, in Kazan, Republic of Tatarstan, Russian Federation. The Getty Conservation Institute, working with the OWHC, organized the conference's scientific program, as well as a pre-congress workshop for mayors of World Heritage cities.
This multinational forum, held every two years, brings together heritage professionals and decision makers responsible for the management of historic cities. The congress held in Kazan included approximately 350 participants, with 70 mayors from a number of important cities who gathered to discuss common issues and concerns related to the theme of the congress, "Heritage and Economics."
The pre-congress workshop, directed specifically to mayors, examined the reuse of historical buildings in an economic context. A case study, presented by representatives of the city of Kazan, illustrated some of the issues and ways they have been addressed.
The conference itself included four keynote presentations that addressed the heritage and economics theme. In addition to formal presentations, working groups were organized, which were structured to foster debate in small groups. Conference participants were also invited to present their projects through a poster session. In addition, a panel of five mayors discussed why tourism is insufficient to sustain economic development and support conservation endeavors in historic cities.
The OWHC congress in Kazan also included the culmination of a twelve-month program for Kazan university students to address how revitalization of historic traditions, historic buildings, and urban areas can promote economic development. This program concluded with the presentation of the twenty projects developed by groups of students from architecture, economics, and social sciences programs, among others.
The GCI's past work with the OWHC has included organizing the scientific program and the pre-congress workshop at the Eighth World Congress in 2005 in Cusco, Peru.