Kai Weise

IAS Fellow at St Mary’s College, Durham University (February – March 2015)

Kai Weise has been working in various capacities as a UNESCO consultant and advisor to the UNESCO office in Kathmandu since 2004. He has facilitated the establishment of management systems for World Heritage properties such as Kathmandu Valley and Lumbini in Nepal, Samarkand in Uzbekistan, Mountain Railways of India and recently for Bagan in Myanmar. The approach of establishing these management systems has been acclaimed as being exemplary by UNESCO and ICOMOS. Furthermore he has been involved in establishing Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA) in Nepal, promoting disaster risk management for cultural heritage sites and organizing workshops to address issues on management of cultural heritage.

Kai Weise is a Nepali national of Swiss origin. He completed his Masters in Architecture from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich in 1992 and has been working as a municipal planner and architect in the Himalayan Region. Kai Weise is president of the Nepal national committee of the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) and is a member of the International Scientific Committee on Risk Preparedness (ICOMOS-ICORP). He is also a member of the Swiss Society of Engineers and Architects (SIA) and the Society of Nepalese Architects (SONA).

Kai Weise has lectured in various universities in Nepal, Switzerland, Japan, India, China and the Republic of Korea. He held the UNESCO Chair for Physical Heritage Conservation (2004 – 2005) at Khwopa Engineering College, Bhaktapur to help establish the curriculum for a master’s course in Heritage Conservation where for several years he continued to lecture for the course on Architectural Conservation. Kai Weise also held a series of lectures on “Management of World Heritage” (2012) for the World Heritage Studies programme at the University of Tsukuba, Tsukuba, Japan. He was resource person and lecturer on disaster risk and management of World Heritage at Ritsumeikan University, Kyoto, Japan (2009 – 2012).

Over the past decade Kai Weise has authored, edited and contributed to numerous UNESCO publications, mainly on defining and managing World Heritage properties. Notably he was lead author of the publication “Understanding World Heritage in Asia and the Pacific: The Second Cycle of Periodic Reporting 2010-2012”. The two most recent publications compiled and edited by Kai Weise are “Revisiting Kathmandu Document on safeguarding living urban heritage” (2014) and “The Sacred Garden of Lumbini: Perceptions of Buddha’s birthplace” (2013). He has contributed to the publication of several documents on Disaster Risk Management of Cultural Heritage for Research Center for Disaster Mitigation of Urban Cultural Heritage, Ritsumeikan University, Kyoto, Japan. Furthermore Kai Weise regularly contributes articles to numerous publications, proceedings and magazines. Over the past several years Kai Weise has been writing a weekly column in the Himalayan Times on architecture, planning and heritage.

While at the IAS at Durham, Kai Weise will be consolidating his notes on the management of World Heritage sites in the Asian context. He will also take the opportunity to compare the outcome of his experience in Asia to the management of World Heritage in the UK, possibly starting with Durham.