Tatiana Villegas

Culture Programme Specialist at UNESCO Cairo office (Colombia)

Tatiana Villegas Zamora

Themes of special interest - the protection of cultural heritage and the fight against illicit trafficking of this heritage notably through the promotion and implementation of UNESCO’s 1970 and 2001 Conventions particularly through capacity building.

Professional biography

Tatiana Villegas Zamora is a Colombian underwater archaeologist who has worked on the development of underwater cultural heritage protection in countries in Latin America as well as other developing countries in other regions of the world over the last twenty years.

Tatiana studied high school in New Delhi, India and in Georgetown, Guyana to continue her university studies in the fields of History of Art and Underwater Archaeology at the Sorbonne in France, where she obtained her Master Degree researching on the use of ballast in transatlantic seafaring, while also working at the Permanent Delegation of Colombia to UNESCO (1992-2001).

As a consultant for underwater cultural heritage protection and a tutor of the Nautical Archeological Society of the UK (NAS) Tatiana organized and participated in capacity building and awareness raising activities for the protection of the underwater cultural heritage in developing countries such as Colombia, Argentina, Mexico, Dominican Republic, Sri Lanka, Portugal, Croatia) amongst other encouraging south-south cooperation.

Since 2010 she joined the UNESCO international staff and was appointed Cultural programme Specialist in Havana, Cuba until 2014 where she developed regional activities and seminars on the protection of UCH in Latin American and the Caribbean. She then joined the UNESCO office in Port au Prince, Haiti where she organized and took part in the UNESCO scientific mission to inspect the presumed wreck site of Christopher Columbus’s Santa Maria and started a capacity building activity for Haitian archeologists in the field of UCH.

She was appointed at the Cairo office since 2016. Her area of work has focused on assisting the State Parties of UNESCO in the implementation of the different international conventions in the Cultural field including the UNESCO’s 2001 Convention for the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage and the 1970 Convention on the fight against illicit traffic of cultural property as well as the development of museums.

Tatiana is particularly interested in creating synergies between developing countries in the field of underwater cultural heritage protection through exchange programmes at academic and practical levels.