Press Release

World Monuments Fund Names Jonathan S. Bell as Vice President of Programs

World Monuments Fund Names Jonathan S. Bell as Vice President of Programs

New York, NY, March 4, 2020– World Monuments Fund (WMF) today announced Jonathan S. Bell as its new Vice President of Programs. Dr. Bell will be the first individual to hold this newly created position. Since 1965, WMF has partnered with local stakeholders to safeguard more than 600 sites worldwide, including Angkor Archaeological Park in Siem Reap, Cambodia; the Forbidden City’s Qianlong Garden in Beijing, China; and Civil Rights sites across Alabama in the United States.

Dr. Bell, who comes to the organization from the National Geographic Society, has spent over twenty years collaborating with national and local governments to develop conservation and management strategies for cultural heritage sites and infrastructure around the world. Over his career, he has worked with the Getty Conservation Institute on World Heritage Sites in China and Egypt, evaluated cultural site management from Kazakhstan to Colombia, and has overseen strategic planning for largescale flood infrastructure for the County of Los Angeles. Bell serves on multiple ICOMOS scientific committees as an expert member and sits on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Architectural Conservation.

Currently, Dr. Bell serves as the Director of the Human Journey Initiative at National Geographic Society, where he oversees a portfolio of projects that highlight the origins of humankind and contribute to the protection of humanity’s legacy. In addition to working closely with some of the world’s leading paleoanthropologists and geneticists to further research on human origins, Bell has helped launch a new program focused on cultural heritage that will highlight the significance of historic sites and the threats they face for a broad public, while also contributing to local capacity-building in documentation and conservation approaches. Furthermore, he helped finalize a new framework and associated curriculum on community engagement in the management of natural and cultural landscapes.

In his new role as Vice President of Programs, Bell will serve as a key member of the Executive Team at World Monuments Fund and help shape the programmatic focus of the organization, while leading the Programs team to ensure the efficacy of all global projects. He will also work closely with his peers across the organization to ensure effective fundraising and communications in support of the organization’s mission.

Bell, a native New Yorker holding both American and Jamaican citizenship, is an alumnus of Hunter College High School in Manhattan. He returns to his hometown to join the headquarters of WMF. After pursuing a Bachelors in East Asian Studies and Anthropology at Harvard University, he earned another degree at the Sorbonne in Art History and Archaeology and then returned to New York for a Masters in Historic Preservation at Columbia University. Bell later attended UCLA to earn a Ph.D. in Urban Planning focused on the socioeconomic and political forces behind the preservation of historic urban centers in China.


About World Monuments Fund

World Monuments Fund is the leading independent organization devoted to saving the world’s treasured places. For more than 50 years, working in more than 100 countries, its highly skilled experts have applied proven and effective techniques to the preservation of important architectural and cultural heritage sites around the globe. Through the World Monuments Watch—a biennial, nomination-based program—WMF uses cultural heritage conservation to empower communities and improve human well-being. In partnership with local communities, funders, and governments, WMF seeks to inspire an enduring commitment to stewardship for future generations. Headquartered in New York City, the organization has offices and affiliates worldwide. Visit for more information, or connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Press Contact:
Sean Piazza
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