Herb Stovel (1948 - 2012)
16 March. It is with profound sadness that the staff of ICCROM learns of the death of our friend and former colleague, Herb Stovel. Herb served as the Director of the Heritage Settlements Unit at ICCROM from 1998 until 2004 and was presented with the ICCROM Award at the 27th session of the General Assembly of ICCROM in November of 2011.
Herb’s first involvement with ICCROM came in 1982 when he was a participant in the Scientific Principles of Conservation (SPC) course. At that time, he already impressed ICCROM staff with his wide interest in the field of conservation, manifest by his attendance not only in classes of the SPC course, but also of other ICCROM courses being held at the same time. Subsequently he returned to ICCROM on numerous occasions as a consultant and teacher.
Prior to joining ICCROM as a staff member, Herb was a professor at the University of Montreal where he served as the first director of its post-graduate conservation programme. Even from Canada his impact on the future of ICCROM was notable, as he taught two current ICCROM staff members, Zaki Aslan and Elena Incerti Medici, during this period. He was also involved in a number of projects including a study of the Rideau Canal Corridor, which eventually become a World Heritage property. One of his most important contributions to the field of conservation came in 1994, as one of the key drafters of the Nara Document on Authenticity. This standard setting instrument, in addition to clarifying the concept of authenticity, has been a key element in promoting the concept of cultural diversity in conservation.
At ICCROM, Herb was in charge of the Integrated Territorial and Urban Conservation programme (ITUC). Within this framework, he was responsible for the continued development of concepts related to integrated urban conservation, which eventually led to the current understanding of the Historic Urban Landscape (HUL) approach. During this period, Herb carried out many courses, both at ICCROM’s premises in Rome, and in many places around the world including Lithuania, Hungary, Brazil, India, and the Dominican Republic.
Herb also served as the Coordinator of ICCROM’s role as an Advisory Body to the World Heritage Committee, drafting the first Global Training Strategy for World Heritage in 2000 and participating in many aspects of the implementation of the World Heritage Convention.
Herb was the author or editor of numerous publications. Of note, he wrote Safeguarding Urban Ensembles in a Time of Change: A Management Guide, published by Parks Canada in 1991, and Risk Preparedness: A Management Manual for World Cultural Heritage published by ICCROM, ICOMOS, and the World Heritage Centre in 1998. More recently he edited (with Nicholas Stanley-Price and Robert Killick) Conservation of Living Religious Heritage, published by ICCROM in 2005 as part of the ICCROM Conservation Studies series.
After leaving ICCROM, Herb returned to Canada and became a professor in the Canadian Studies programme at Carlton University in Ottawa, Canada.
Herb served many conservation organizations in addition to ICCROM. He was the President of the Association for Preservation Technology from 1989 to 1991, the Secretary-General of ICOMOS International from 1990 to 1993, and the President of ICOMOS Canada from 1993 to 1997. He also served as a frequent consultant to ICOMOS and to the UNESCO World Heritage Centre in work related to the World Heritage Convention. He was instrumental in the setting up of several of the new UNESCO Category 2 Centres focused on World Heritage through his preparation of feasibility studies for these centres, prior to their approval by the Executive Board and General Conference of UNESCO. He also prepared the feasibility study for ICCROM’s own ATHAR Regional Centre, located in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates.
Herb was the recipient of many honours in addition to the ICCROM Award, including:
- Appointment to the Board of Governors of the Heritage Canada Foundation;
- Membership in the Order of the Knights of the Apocalypse, conferred in Patmos, Greece by the Bishop of the Monastery of St. John, on behalf of the Greek Orthodox Church for services in conserving the religious heritage of Patmos, and promoting it to the world;
- Recipient of Lithuanian Order of Merit, conferred for services to the cause of heritage conservation in Lithuania;
- Appointment as honorary Associate Professor in the School of Architecture at the University of Hong Kong;
- Honorary membership in ICOMOS Canada;
- Recipient of the Heritage Canada Achievement Award.
Herb’s professional legacy will be carried on by the hundreds of students and colleagues who have benefited from his knowledge and enthusiasm for heritage conservation. His contribution to the development of conservation concepts will also be long remembered, in particular related to the ideas surrounding the concepts of authenticity, integrity, disaster risk preparedness, living heritage, and cultural landscapes.
His personal legacy will be carried by his wife, Meryl, and two children, Colin and Virginia, as well as the many friends who have had the good fortune to know Herb over the years. At ICCROM, Herb will be remembered for his warmth, generosity, and sense of humor, as well as for working lunches at Il Ponentino in Piazza del Drago where key conservation concepts were debated and discussed along with the fortunes of his favorite soccer team, AS Roma.
The Director-General and staff of ICCROM would like to offer our condolences to Herb’s family and friends at this difficult moment.
26 March, 2012