Roders, A. (2015), "Obituary", Journal of Cultural Heritage Management and Sustainable Development, Vol. 5 No. 2. https://doi.org/10.1108/JCHMSD-08-2015-073Download as .RIS
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Article Type: Obituary From: Journal of Cultural Heritage Management and Sustainable Development, Volume 5, Issue 2.
In Memoriam: Ron van Oers
Dear colleagues, dear friends,
This morning, I was confronted with a reality that I am still struggling to accept. Our great friend and inspiring colleague, Ron van Oers, passed away today, 28 April 2015. Ron was working, in a reactive monitoring mission, at the historic ensemble of the Potala Palace, Lhasa, China. Our thoughts go to his family, colleagues and friends worldwide.
Less than six months ago, Ron and I shared the difficult task of preparing an In Memoriam for our dearest friend and colleague, Professor Karel Bakker. Ron shared with you, his brain stroke, and how he sealed a pact with Karel to celebrate their second chance in life, against a glorious African sunset. I would never imagine, I would be writing his In Memoriam in such short notice. It seems that his former stroke which he suffered in 2008, re-surfaced with a vengeance, depriving us from Ron’s company and the world from his perseverance, idealism and optimism.
Ron was, in heart and dedication, an ambassador to UNESCO and to the principles set forward by the 1972 World Heritage Convention. He believed in sustainable urban developments that respect communities and enrich their heritage. Together with Francesco Bandarin, Ron wrote two vital books, with a third on the way, to help us grasp a new approach to urban heritage management, best known as, the Historic Urban Landscape (HUL) approach.
My professional working relationship with him runs back to the same 2008, when I contacted him for feedback on a research project I was eager to lead, taking the World Heritage cities as case study. The reply with a research proposal edited in deep red, together with the most positive reaction towards cooperation, sealed our relationship and weekly contact ever since. By then, Ron was a Programme Specialist for Culture, at the Special Projects Unit, UNESCO World Heritage Centre, Paris, France.
Ron was also the co-editor of our journal since its inception. Together with Emerald, we believed in creating a platform that would enable experts and practitioners from different backgrounds to share their knowledge and experiences, without disciplinary biases. We created a journal that would publish contradictory perspectives, as long as it was contextually driven. Over the last years, Ron and I shared many moments of delight and stress, preparing the issues and interacting with the growing community of authors, reviewers and editorial advisory team. We were enjoying every second and were most proud with the feedback and suggestions to further develop.
In 2012, Ron took up a new challenge and became the vice-director of the World Heritage Institute of Training and Research for Asia and the Pacific under the auspices of UNESCO (WHITRAP), Shanghai, China. Ron joined the director Professor Zhou Jian in developing the plans for leadership, staffing and infrastructure, where he strengthened and inspired the WHITRAP staff. Ron was committed to assisting countries and cities that have been working with the HUL approach, discussing its usefulness and the first preliminary results. His e-mails would often be sent from the most outstanding of locations, illustrated with great pictures.
Ron, my friend, you are already being missed. But you’ve used your time well. Your second chance in life was lived in full spirit. You are an inspiration to us all.
Ana Pereira Roders