Patrimonito means ‘small heritage’ in Spanish and the character represents a young heritage guardian. Patrimonito has been widely adopted as the international mascot of the World Heritage Education Program.
Patrimonito was created in 1995 by a group of Spanish-speaking students during a workshop at the 1st World Heritage Youth Forum held in Bergen, Norway. Students designed Patrimonito on the basis of the World Heritage Emblem which symbolizes the interdependence of cultural and natural sites: the central square is a form created by people and the circle represents nature, the two being intimately linked; the emblem is round like the world and at the same time a symbol of protection.
In 2002 a cartoon series entitled Patrimonito’s World Heritage Adventures was launched where Patrimonito introduces World Heritage sites, the threats they are facing and proposes solutions to preserve them. Storyboards were chosen following a competition among secondary school students to raise their awareness of the importance of World Heritage and their role in preserving it. The competition was organized by UNESCO on the occasion of the celebration of the 30th Anniversary of the World Heritage Convention in 2002. The selected storyboards are professionally animated and produced in CD-ROM format for global diffusion to schools and at World Heritage Youth events.
The cartoon films are based on storyboards made ‘by young people for young people’ and selected during a Patrimonito Storyboard Competition. They are proving to be useful teaching support materials. They are becoming popular at events held by UNESCO.