Francesco Bandarin, architect and planner, is the Director of the UNESCO World Heritage Centre since September 2000 and the UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Culture since May 2010. He holds degrees in Architecture (Venice) and in City and Regional Planning (California, Berkeley).
Since 1980, he has been Professor of Urban Planning at the School of Architecture of Venice, where he has taught urban conservation and management. He has given courses and classes in Universities in Europe and the United States, and has conducted training programs in urban management in developing countries in the Mediterranean and in Africa. He is presently on leave from his academic position.
In the past 25 years, he has worked as consultant for bilateral and multilateral organizations on projects related to the conservation of historic cities and the improvement of the urban environments. In the 1990's he was involved in two major initiatives, the Venice Safeguarding projects and the preparation of the millenium in Rome.
As Director of the World Heritage Centre, he is the Secretary of the World Heritage Committee. In recent years he has actively supported the reforms promoted by the World Heritage Committee to streamline the implementation of the World Heritage Convention, and has successfully promoted partnerships with Governments, NGOs and the private sector for the protection of World Heritage sites. He has actively supported the creation of World Heritage related initiatives and institutions in different parts of the world, such as China, South Africa and Europe. He is directly responsible of complex conservation projects such as the Action Plan for the Old City of Jerusalem, the re-erection of the Axum Obelisk, the protection of the Natural Parks in Congo.