US Preservationist Elected President of ICOMOS

Québec, Canada. Gustavo F. Araoz was elected President of the International Council of Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) during the organization’s 16th General Assembly and International Scientific Colloquium, held in Quebec City, Canada, from September 29 to October 4, 2008. Mr. Araoz currently serves as Executive Director of the United States Committee for ICOMOS (US/ICOMOS), headquartered in Washington, DC. He is the seventh President of ICOMOS, and the first American ever elected to this office. ICOMOS was founded in 1965 to create an international network of professionals and supporters of heritage conservation and has grown to become the pre-eminent global historic preservation organization.

Mr. Araoz ran on a platform calling for broader and more active participation by the 120 national ICOMOS committees globally, greater engagement of young professionals, and improved institutional effectiveness, efficiency and transparency. In sum, Mr. Araoz envisions an ICOMOS that is a universally accessible stage for the open exchange of ideas, a major source for the creation and spread of knowledge, a venue for cross-border cooperation, an alert steward of cultural heritage places everywhere, and, foremost, the undisputed world authority in heritage conservation.

Born in Cuba, Mr. Araoz is a preservation architect by training. His career combines professional practice, academia, and institutional management. He has served as Executive Director of the United States Committee of ICOMOS since 1995. Since 2002, he has served as International Vice President of ICOMOS, spearheading organizational reforms and advocating greater engagement of ICOMOS members worldwide. He has taught at several universities in the US, including the University of Pennsylvania. He has been visiting professor at the University of São Paulo in Brazil, the Catholic University of Salta in Argentina, and at CICOP in Tenerife and Buenos Aires.

Commenting on the election results, John Fowler, Chairman of the Board of US/ICOMOS, observed: “Mr. Araoz’s election signals a great future for all ICOMOS. For the United States, this is an unprecedented opportunity to increase our participation in international cooperative efforts to preserve the world’s cultural heritage. Mr. Araoz has worked diligently for ICOMOS in the past, and we are certain that from his new position he will bring exceptional skill and energy to promote heritage conservation as an important part of the global agenda.”

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