Jean-Louis Luxen

After obtaining a doctorate in law from the Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium, Jean-Louis Luxen completed studies in economics at Stanford University in California. From 1973 to 2006, he had a distinguished career as Director-General at the Ministry of Cultural Affairs of Belgium. From 1989 to 1993 he chaired the Cultural Heritage Committee of the Council of Europe, before being elected Secretary General of ICOMOS from 1993 to 2002. In this capacity he supervised the participation of the advisory body at sessions of the World Heritage Committee and participated in several expert meetings, including the Nara meeting in 1994 and the intangible World Heritage meetings held in Zimbabwe in 2000 and 2003.

Since 2002, Jean-Louis Luxen presided over CHEDI (Culture, Heritage and Development - International) and has been Treasurer of the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience since 2010. Professor at the University of Louvain for more than twenty years, he has written extensively on heritage as a vector of economic development and on the immaterial dimension of built heritage. He recently published an analysis of the relevance of charters and conventions («Is There a Need for a Charter on . . . the Wise Use of Charters and Conventions?», Change Over Time, 4/2, autumn 2014, p.462-469).

The audio excerpts are from an interview with Jean-Louis Luxen by Christina Cameron in March 2009 at Louvain in Belgium. These excerpts reflect his optimistic and sometimes critical vision for the objectives and impacts of Convention. They clarify a number of issues that have arisen during the period of his involvement from 1993 to 2002: the politicization of the Committee, the creation of the World Heritage Centre and the Nara meeting. Jean-Louis Luxen's in-depth knowledge of ICOMOS also offers an interesting perspective on the work of the Advisory Bodies.

UNESCO, World Heritage Oral Archives, Canada Research Chair on Built Heritage, University of Montreal, audio interview of Jean-Louis Luxen by Christina Cameron, Leuven, Belgium, 26 March 2009.