The World Heritage Centre and the History and Memory for Dialogue Section of UNESCO have learned with deep sadness of the recent passing of Professor Chahryar Adle, a long-time collaborator of UNESCO. Chahryar Adle (1943-2015) was an archaeologist and Iranologist, and a member of the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS). He was also President of the International Scientific Committee of ICOMOS International, and President of the International Scientific Committee for the preparation of the History of Civilizations of Central Asia (UNESCO).

Professor Adle’s work in UNESCO’s History of Civilizations of Central Asia shone light on the cultural heritage of lands that were shaped by the movement of peoples and varied civilizations. He himself described the publication of this series as an immense task, part of his wish to contribute to one of the main goals proclaimed in UNESCO’s Constitution, which aims ‘to develop and to increase the means of communication between… peoples and to employ these means for the purposes of mutual understanding and a truer and more perfect knowledge of each other’s lives.’ He participated in the reflection on the cross-reading of UNESCO’s General and Regional Histories.

Author and co-author of many publications on the history of civilizations and society and culture, particularly concerning Iran, Professor Adle’s works have significantly advanced reflection on ways cultural heritage can be a means for reaching mutual understanding. Professor Adle was respected by academics and research societies thanks to his progressive views on regional issues.

Although he had a wide range of academic interests, in various time periods from late antiquity to medieval times and the recent past, his research focused mainly on medieval Iran, the Near East, and Central Asia. He was a great and tireless scholar. He also played a major role in the inscription of monuments such as Persepolis, Choghā-Zanbil, Meidāne Naqshe Jahān, Esfahan, and recently the Sheikh Safi al-din Khānegāh and Shrine Ensemble in Ardabi and Tabriz Historic Bazaar Complex, on the World Heritage List. Professor Adle also was instrumental in the preparation of the second cycle of World Heritage Periodic Reporting in the Asia and the Pacific region and contributed to the serial transnational World Heritage nomination of the Silk Roads.  

This is a great loss indeed for the UNESCO family. The colleagues of the World Heritage Centre and the History and Memory for Dialogue Section wish to extend their sincere condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Chahryar Adle. He will be deeply missed by all those who appreciated his friendly nature, intellectual passion and civil commitment.