Mara studied Archaeology in Amsterdam (VU, 1996-2001) and Melbourne (University of Melbourne, 2000). After finishing her Masters she worked as a cultural tour guide in Italy, focusing on (pre) Roman history. In 2005 Mara started working for the Netherlands Cultural Heritage Agency (RCE) as an Archaeological Information Specialist. Her interest in international heritage management increased and she did a traineeship at the Centre for International Heritage Activities (CIE), primarily dealing with archaeological heritage management in the Dutch Caribbean.
In 2009 Mara got the opportunity to work for the Shared Heritage program (now International Heritage Cooperation Program) of the Nationaal Archief and later also the RCE again. 'Shared Heritage' means heritage from Dutch exploration, trade, colonialism, migration and military conflict in Asia, Africa, or the America's. Ambitions of the Shared Heritage policy were directed towards preservation, capacity building, improving access to heritage and enhancing international cultural cooperation (cultural diplomacy).
A selection of projects she worked on:
- Short documentary on VOC postal stones in Madagascar
- TULIPANA capacity building Dutch migrant communities in Brazil
- Nominating the Dutch West India Company Archives as UNESCO Memory of the World
- Conservation Course Surinam (2010)
- Publication: Footsteps and Fingerprints, The Legacy of a Shared History (Waanders, 2011)
Mara works as Managing Director for the Centre for Global Heritage and Development from January 2014 onwards.
Mara is trained in Heritage Impact Assessment