George Town of Penang has a unique infusion of diverse cultures, robust tradition of artistic tapestry and inspiring heritage legacy inherited from the early multi-ethnic trading communities of the Malay Archipelago, India, China, and Europe. After the city was inscribed as a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee in 2008, many comprehensive plans have been proposed and implemented by local, state and national governments to preserve the city’s heritage assets and organic intercultural lifestyles. Yet, there remain many challenges, in particular those that pertain to the sustainability of the intangible cultural heritage of George Town and its people. In response to these needs, this symposium hopes to achieve the following:


  1. To exchange innovative practices, sustainable strategies, and lessons learnt from Asia and the world in relation to the conservation and revitalization of intangible cultural heritage.
  2. To strengthen cooperation and collaboration between practitioners, policy-makers, researchers, activists and communities in the efforts to sustain intangible cultural heritage.
  3. To promote sustainable development and dynamic growth of intangible cultural heritage for present and future generations.


  1. Effective policymaking and implementation of World Heritage Sites management.
  2. Conservation, protection, and sustainability of endangered intangible cultural heritage.
  3. Tools for heritage inventory, mapping and asset categorization with emphasis on local experience and needs.  
  4. Entrepreneurship and economy within World Heritage Sites.
  5. Bottom-up interpretation and identification of intangible cultural heritage identity.

The symposium features keynote speeches, paper presentations, and roundtable discussions by practitioners, researchers, and communities with established experience in the protection, revitalization, and management of intangible cultural heritage.


George Town World Heritage Incorporated (GTWHI) was established as the Penang State Heritage Agency in April 2010 to spearhead efforts to ensure that George Town's legacy will not be lost. GTWHI is an organization dedicated to protecting, promoting, and preserving George Town as a sustainable city. GTWHI works in cooperation with the federal, state, and local governments as well as several non-governmental organizations to manage, monitor, promote, and execute heritage-related activities. It identify the problem areas, build a strategy, and call on experts and stakeholders in our vast network to work with us towards the solution.



Penang Institute is the public policy think tank of the state government of Penang. Established in 1997 as the Socio-economic and Environmental Research Institute, it has now been rebranded to better reflect the aspirations of the state to transform Penang into an international and intelligent city. With the tagline, “Making Ideas Work”, the Penang Institute seeks to spur bold thinking in the key areas of economics, socio-politics, and sustainable development.



Set up to promote, market and generate tourism to Penang state in Malaysia, Penang Global Tourism is a state tourism bureau that work with key tourism players locally and internationally. Also serving as the focal point for the coordination of all tourism activities, PGT as it is affectionately known, works with airlines and Tourism Malaysia offices worldwide in hosting media groups to Penang through FAM or familiarisation trips. PGT participates in overseas sales missions in world renowned trade shows and the exposure has also contributed to Penang’s popularity as a destination, investment and habitat choices for many from around the world.