Giovanni Fontana Antonelli is an architect and regional planner graduated from Florence University (Italy). Specialized in conservation and management of historic towns and landscapes, he joined UNESCO in 1998 (Namibia, Angola and Mozambique). After one year at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, he served from 2003 to 2013 as a Head of Culture Unit at UNESCO Office in Ramallah, where his upfront action was key to protect Palestinian cultural identity, land and livelihood of local communities through projects that addressed historic preservation, museum development, capacity building, based on an ethical, sustainable, equitable and gender-sensitive development culture.
Among these projects, the advocacy planning for the protection of the agricultural dry-stone terraces and irrigation systems of Battir was awarded the “Melina Mercouri International Prize for the Safeguarding of Cultural Landscapes” in 2011, and substantially contributed to the inscription of the “Cultural Landscape of Southern Jerusalem-Battir” on the World Heritage list in 2014. The project “Reviving of earthen architecture in the Jordan Valley towards adequate housing for marginalized communities” (funded through the United Nations Trust Fund for Human Security) was nominated for the Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 2013 and 2016.
Author of more than sixty papers, articles and book chapters on historic towns, cultural landscapes and cultural management, Giovanni Fontana Antonelli is co-editor of the two-volume publication “Bethlehem Area Conservation and Management Plan” (Paris: 2012) and the photographic book “The Land That Remains” (Berlin: 2016).
Senior consultant in Nigeria, Iraq and Jordan from 2013 through 2015, Giovanni Fontana Antonelli is currently CEO and ‘Just Cities’ Program Director at ARCHI.MEDIA TRUST, a non-profit development and humanitarian agency focusing on human settlements, cultural development, social justice and human rights.