Cultural heritage should not be seen merely as a technical matter or from a narrow visitor management point of view but rather as cultural practice—a form of cultural politics dominated by ruling regimes and social groups in which decisions are made about the future of and access to scarce resources. Several scholars have sought to push this approach further by arguing that heritage studies should take on the protection of human rights as a core consideration in the processes of identifying, inscribing, conserving and interpreting cultural heritage. This paper builds on these previous works to explore what the shift to a rights-based management approach in the World Heritage system might mean for various stakeholders in the heritage protection enterprise as they learn to meet this challenge and to find ways to support people’s right to access, enjoy and maintain cultural heritage. Reaffirming the need to maintain a strong relationship between theory and praxis, the paper draws into the discussion heritage practitioners, decision makers in governments and government agencies, scholars and educators. Of these, the principal emphasis in this paper is on educators who are seen to have a fundamentally important role in developing a critical understanding of the cultural heritage concept, how heritage is created, used and misused and how conservation approaches and programs sit within the broader context of community attitudes and aspirations and governmental responsibilities. A distinction is made between teachers in universities and trainers offering short courses more focused on specific employer needs. The paper focuses on World Heritage but refers to both tangible and intangible aspects. It shows how current moves to establish a rights-based approach to the management of World Heritage sites connects with moves elsewhere in global governance, most notably in the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues and the United Nations Human Rights Commission.