Michael Turner

A graduate of the University College London Bartlett School of Architecture, Michael Turner is an architect and professor at the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem. He has held the UNESCO Chair in Urban Planning and Conservation Studies since 2004. He has worked in the public sector in Israel for several decades, first at the Ministry of the Interior and then as director of the Municipal Planning Department of Jerusalem. Specialist of historic cities, he opened his own firm in 1983 and works on urban planning and conservation projects. After the ratification of the World Heritage Convention by Israel in 1999, he was appointed head of the World Heritage Committee of Israel, which he supervised until 2011. During this period, he contributed to the inscription of several Israeli sites on the World Heritage List, including Masada, the Old City of Acre and the White City of Tel Aviv - the modern movement. He then participated with his country on the World Heritage Committee between 2006 and 2009, and was Vice-president of the Committee's annual session in 2008 in Quebec City.

Michael Turner has a long history of involvement in several professional and academic organizations, including ICOMOS Israel. He has also collaborated with UNESCO on several projects, including the formulation and implementation of the Recommendation on the Historic Urban Landscape of 2011. He is now advisor to the Director of the World Heritage Center on issues related to architecture, urban planning and conservation. In addition, he has recently contributed to various projects related to the resilience of cities, notably as an advocate for the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR). His writings include “Climate change as a cultural change and resilience in climate change" (with Rachel Singer), Climate Change as a Threat to Peace: Impacts on Cultural Heritage and Cultural Diversity, S. Maus and S. von Schorlemer, eds. (Berlin: Peter Lang, 2015) and "Social Sustainability of the Historic Urban Landscape," M.-T. Albert ed. (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2015).

The following audio excerpts are from an interview with Michael Turner by Christina Cameron in July 2017 in Krakow. Turner discusses issues concerning Israel's involvement in the World Heritage Convention, including the reasons for the ratification of the Convention by his country, the creation of the Tentative List and the difficulties related to the site of the Old City of Jerusalem and its ramparts. The excerpts also reveal Turner's primary role and dedication in the implementation of the Convention, as well as his ongoing efforts for peace and building awareness for heritage protection.

UNESCO, World Heritage Oral Archives, Canada Research Chair on Built Heritage, University of Montreal, audio interview of Michael Turner by Christina Cameron, Krakow, Poland, 9 July 2017.