The team of the UNESCO World Heritage Centre would like to express its sadness after learning that former President of ICOMOS International, Prof Michael Petzet passed away on 30 May 2019.
The passing away of Michael Petzet represents an important loss for the conservation community. His strong opinions were always a reflection of his unerring commitment to excellence in the conservation of the world's cultural heritage. From 1988 to 2012, Petzet was President of the German National Committee of ICOMOS and from 1999 to 2008, President of ICOMOS International.
Petzet earned great merits around the principles of contemporary monument preservation worldwide. As an internationally recognized expert, including on World Heritage, he was also seen as a pioneer of preventive monitoring and founded the ICOMOS series reports on "Heritage at Risk".
He came to many World Heritage Committee sessions, on-site missions and expert meetings. For example, he participated in the 2005 meeting on Outstanding Universal Value in Kazan, Russian Federation, where he was a strong defender of the “Monumentkultur”, a built-heritage tradition that created the Charter of Venice with a focus on material fabric of architectural monuments. This discussion also led him to raise funds and spearhead the production by ICOMOS of the important book 'The World Heritage List: What is OUV? Defining the Outstanding Universal Value of Cultural World Heritage Properties'.
As an example of his fieldwork, he undertook many missions to Afghanistan with the UNESCO team, where he was leading projects on the safeguarding of the remains of the Bamiyan Buddhas. He always inspired others with his unconventional creativity and his deep knowledge of cultural heritage.
While we commemorate his life and work, the way he touched each of us, we mourn alongside our ICOMOS and ICCROM colleagues. Our thoughts and condolences also go to his family and friends at this difficult time.