Global Alliance for Interpretation

UPDATE - March 16, 2017: As many of you know, NAI has been a leader in the field of interpretation for many years and has helped to promote cooperation among interpretive organizations and agencies throughout the world. With the increasing globalization of world trade and tourism, more and more opportunities arise for collaboration and learning from one another. NAI was asked to participate in an effort to draft a framework for such collaboration and it is presented here for your comments. Please note that this process is in the early stages, so all comments and suggestions will be weighed carefully. NAI is just one of many partners in this process; it is not solely an NAI initiative nor will we be staffing or funding any eventual organization that is created.

The working group has just released a statement and draft charter for an alliance of interpretive associations. Visit the Global Alliance for Interpretation website to review and comment on this international effort and the draft charter.

International Collaboration

International Conference on Interpretation
Montreal, Canada
May 3-7, 2015



The issue of international collaboration has been a part of both formal and informal discussion at international interpretive conferences for many years, and we decided to make this a theme at the 2015 International Conference on Interpretation.

There were four segments of this conversation, beginning with a World Café format session led by NAI President Amy Lethbridge as a way of engaging participants in the discussion with a facilitated dialogue. This was followed two days later by an impromptu lunchtime program facilitated by Jane Beattie, which presented two successful federation models that could be adapted to provide an umbrella mechanism supporting current and grassroots interpretive organizations around the world. Attendees were asked to brainstorm other models, provide a SWOT analysis of the idea, and give their thoughts on what the top goals of such an organization should be.

On the final day of the conference there was a general session that consisted of two parts. The first was a panel discussion moderated by Chuck Lennox of Cascade Interpretive Consulting and made up of representatives from interpretive associations in eight countries. They were asked to discuss the presence or development of standards, best practices or guidelines for interpretation in their country or region. The panel was asked if they saw a need for international standards and what their vision or their organization’s vision might be for them. Members of the audience were then asked for their ideas, opinions and concerns. A healthy and wide-ranging discussion followed.

The final segment was a facilitated exercise led by Jon Kohl of PUP Global Heritage Consortium to assess the needs of associations for international interpretation collaboration. Thirty association leaders participated in groups and were asked to identify one principal need/goal/mechanism that an international interpretation collaboration of some type can meet for each group. Two overriding functions were identified: the need for advocacy and promotion of interpretation to establish its legitimacy as a profession, and recognition outside of the field as well as research and dissemination.

A full report on these segments, together with the outcomes of the sessions, can be found in the "Documents" sidebar on this page.