Heritage Awards Jury

Charles Personnaz
Heritage Awards Jury
Jury Member

Charles Personnaz is a historian and civil servant, having spent most of his career in the field of cultural heritage both at the French Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Culture. He has been Director of the National Heritage Institute (INP – Institut national du patrimoine) since 2019.
Charles Personnaz has a special interest and commitment to the preservation of Christian heritage in the Middle East. He has authored several books published in France about Byzantine and Greek history and cultural policy.

Elena Dimitrova
2) Research
Jury Member & Chair of the Selection Committee

Elena Dimitrova is Associate Professor at the University of Architecture, Civil Engineering and Geodesy in Sofia with over thirty years of teaching and research in spatial policy and planning. She has a Master’s in Architecture, awarded in 1976 and defended her PhD in 1990. Dimitrova’s professional expertise and research interests are in the spatial and sociocultural aspects of sustainable development, participatory planning approaches, interdisciplinary and intercultural dialogue on heritage as a factor for urban sustainability. She is a team leader in several international research projects; the author of numerous publications in the fields of urban development and planning, higher education and research, and cultural heritage preservation for sustainable development. Dimitorva is and has been a participant in numerous European academic networks and international conferences.

Elena Dimitrova has been a member of ICOMOS-Bulgaria since 2005 and Vice-President since 2011; a member of CIVVIH (International Scientific Committee on historic cities, towns and villages) since 2010, CIVVIH Advisory Committee member (2018-2021) and Board member (since 2021); representative of ICOMOS-Bulgaria in ICOMOS SDG (Sustainable Development Goals) Working Group since 2019. She is a member of the Expert group on European Quality Principles for EU-Funded Interventions with Potential Impact on Cultural Heritage, jointly developed by ICOMOS Europe and the European Commission (DC Culture and Education), which was adopted by ICOMOS General Assembly in 2021. She was Invited to be a panellist (Theme II: ‘Community engagement through culture for sustainable local development’) at the UNESCO Conference on ‘Culture 2030 | Rural-Urban Development: The Future of Historic Villages and Towns’, organised in Meishan, China, in 2019.

Elena Dimitorva has extensive experience in scientific article reviews, ICOMOS missions and desk reviews and the evaluation of educational and research projects in European and national academic and research programmes. She has also been a local assessor for the European Heritage Awards / Europa Nostra Awards since 2018.

Johanna Leissner
Heritage Awards Jury
Jury Member

Trained as a chemist in Germany and the USA, Johanna Leissner has been working in cultural heritage research in various EU and national projects for over 20 years with a focus on climate change, environmental pollution, environmental sensor development and sustainability issues like Green Museums.

She is chair of the EU OMC group “Strengthening cultural heritage resilience for climate change”, established in January 2021, and member of the EU expert group “Cultural Heritage Forum”, established in 2019. Currently coordinator of German research project KERES “Protecting cultural heritage from extreme climate events and increasing resilience”.

German delegate for the Council of Europe Strategy “European Cultural Heritage in the 21st Century” and of the UNESCO World Heritage Expert Group for climate change impacts on cultural heritage. Since 2005 scientific representative for Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft at the European Union in Brussels. Co-founder of the German Research Alliance for the Protection of Cultural Heritage in 2008 and of the Fraunhofer Sustainability Network. From 2001 to 2005, National Expert of the Federal Republic of Germany responsible for “Technologies for the Protection of the European Cultural Heritage” at the European Commission in Brussels.

Jermina Stanojev
Heritage Awards Jury
Jury Member

Jermina Stanojev, PhD, is an independent expert in the field of cultural heritage and international cultural relations. She is a postdoctoral researcher at Uppsala University with a focus on circular economy and cultural heritage and holds a PhD in participatory and integrated governance of cultural heritage in the Western Balkans. She is currently appointed as an individual expert by the European Commission to the “Commission’s expert group on cultural heritage”. Her work focuses on culture-led, sustainable, regional development, policy design and evaluation for trans-disciplinary challenges through different governance frameworks and geopolitical levels. Since 2009 she is an advisor on the role of cultural heritage in international cultural relations within the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance and since 2016 supports the European Union in engaging in international cultural relations within the framework of the EU strategy for international cultural relations through Cultural Diplomacy/Relations Platform of the Service for Foreign Policy Instruments, with a global geographical mandate, under which, among others, developed recommendations “European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018: International Perspectives”. She has established competences and wide experience in fields of international cultural relations and cultural heritage working with different international organisations and institutions (UNESCO, European Commission, Goethe-Institut Brussels, European Cultural Centre Foundation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia etc.). She has an extensive experience in research, policies and numerous projects such as the EU Horizon 2020 project, “Circular models Leveraging Investments in Cultural Heritage Adaptive Reuse”, Erasmus + HERITAGE-PRO, the report of the Structured Dialogue with the EC on “Skills, Training and Knowledge-transfer in the Traditional and Emerging Heritage”, the OMC working group of Member States’ experts report on “Fostering cooperation in the EU on skills, training and knowledge transfer in cultural heritage professions” etc.

Pavlos Chatzigrigoriou
4) Citizens Engagement & Awareness-raising
Jury Member & Chair of the Selection Committee

Pavlos Chatzigrigoriou is a Civil Engineer with a Master’s in Protection, Conservation and Restoration of Monuments, a Master’s in Environmental Planning, a PhD in Architecture (Digital Cultural Heritage), and a post-doc in Digital Heritage at the University of Aegean. In 2015 his research (HERMeS) led him to the prestigious European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage “Europa Nostra.” HERMeS is now part of the “Best Practices for Strategy 2021” established by the Council of Europe and is currently extended to many historic cities. He attended as a guest speaker, among others: the “EU Cultural Forum”, “Best in Heritage”, “EU Best Practices in public administration”, “Digital Heritage”, “Strategy 2021” and many more.

He was a Marie Curie Postdoctoral Fellow at the UNESCO Chair for Digital Heritage at Cyprus University of Technology. Today teaches Digital Cultural Heritage at the University of the Aegean, he is Chairman of the jury of the European Culture Awards – Europa Nostra in the category “Citizens’ actions and raising awareness of society”, co-founder of the non-profit NGO “Heritage Management e-Society (HERMeS)” for the digital management of heritage, chairman of the Board of Directors of the “Syros Institute” and Project Officer at EU funding for South Aegean Region.

Sara Crofts
3) Education, Training & skills
Jury Member & Chair of the Selection Committee
United Kingdom

Sara Crofts originally trained as an architect and holds an MSc in Architectural Conservation, having written her thesis on Interpreting Cultural Significance. She recently left her role as CEO of ICON (the Institute of Conservation) having led the organisation through the pandemic and completed a number
of key projects including digital transformation, relaunching the members’ magazine, and publishing a new long-term strategy which includes a renewed focus on skills and accreditation.
She joined ICON from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), where she was Head of Historic Environment – providing advice and strategic direction to the Board and Executive on grant giving, and policy issues and building strategic relationships with historic environment organisations across the UK. Prior to this, she served as Deputy Director of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB) where she undertook various activities including running the casework and education teams and leading the award-winning Faith in Maintenance training project.
She is currently CEO of the Institute of Translation and Interpreting. She is also a trustee of the National Heritage Science Forum, the Chair of the BEFS Places of Worship Forum and the Chair of Europa Nostra UK.


Sabine Nemec-Piguet
Heritage Awards Jury
Jury Member

Over the course of her professional career, Sabine Nemec-Piguet has participated in several studies on the improvement and assessment of historical urban quarters in, for example, Yverdon and Geneva. She graduated with a Master’s degree in Architecture from l’Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne – EPFL in 1978, with a thesis on the revitalisation of an industrial quarter in the city of Geneva. In 1981, Sabine Nemec-Piguet became an architect-city planner in the Regional Service for Monuments and Historical Sites, in the Department of Public Works. From 2002-2008, she was the Director of the Regional Service for Monuments and Historical Sites in the state of Geneva. This was followed by the position of Director of the General Office for Heritage and Historical Sites for the state of Geneva from 2008-2019. This agency comprises three services: the service for archaeology, the service for monuments and sites, and the service for the inventory of monuments. As such, the General Office employed 40 staff members under her leadership.
Sabine Nemec-Piguet is member of the Federal Commission for Historic Monuments Preservation (Switzerland). She has published numerous works, most notably on the urban and architectural development of Geneva, the legal framework of urban development, and Geneva’s heritage.

Antonio Lamas
Heritage Awards Jury
Jury Member

Antonio Lamas is Professor Emeritus (retired) of Structural Engineering and Built Heritage at the Instituto Superior Técnico – University of Lisbon, having held that position since 1985. He is Vice-president of the General Assembly (GA) of the Portuguese Academy of Engineering and a Member of the Ordem dos Engenheiros (Institute of Engineers). Antonio Lamas is President of the Jury of the annual Gulbenkian Heritage Prize – Tereza e Vasco Vilalva and a Member of the Advisory Council of “Festival Terras Sem Sombra”. He is also President of the GA of the Cultural Association “Estudos Gerals do Alvito” (Alentejo) and Chairman of the GA of the Portuguese Association for Steel and Composite Construction (CMM).

Some notable previous positions that Antonio Lamas has held are President of the Portuguese Institute for Cultural Heritage (IPPC) of the Ministry of Culture (1987-1990); CEO of “Parques de Sintra – Monte da Lua SA” (2006-2014); Member of the Architectural and Archaeological Section of the National Council for Culture (2012-2016) and; CEO of the Cultural Centre of the Belém Foundation (November 2104 – March 2016).

Antonio Lamas was an external member of the General Council (governing body) of the University of Évora (2017-2021) and was also President of the Portuguese Road Authority (Junta Autónoma de Estradas) – Ministry of Public Works (1998-2000); and non-executive member of the Board of Brisa, SA (2004-2009).
Some of the most notable decorations and awards received by Antonio Lamas over the course of his career were the Order of Infante Dom Henrique – Grand Officer (2014); Silver Medal of Tourist Merit (2009); Gold Medal of the Municipality of Sintra (2012); Honorary Member of the Portuguese Association of Historical Gardens (2018) and; Special Mention of the Jury of the European Heritage Awards / Europa Nostra Awards, 2021: Dedicated Service to Heritage.

Koen van Balen
Heritage Awards Jury
Jury Member

Koenraad Van Balen graduated as Engineer-Architect at the KU Leuven (Belgium) in 1979; post-graduate degree in architectural conservation in 1984 and a Ph.D in Engineering in 1991 at the KU Leuven.
Since October 2022 he is an emeritus professor at the KU Leuven, the Civil Engineering department and he is the former acting director of the Raymond Lemaire International Center for Conservation (RLICC) at the University of Leuven, holder of the PRECOM3OS UNESCO chair since 2008-2024. He was member of the research Council of KU Leuven from 2016-2020. He is one of the initiators of HERKUL: the KU Leuven Institute for Cultural heritage.
Through HERKUL and the collaboration within the Una Europa alliance – of which KU Leuven is part – he is strongly involved in the activities of the European Institute of Technology (EIT) Knowledge and Innovation Community (KIC) Culture and Creativity and in the European Heritage Hub.
Koen Van Balen was recently be appointed as member of the panel for the European Heritage Label by the European Commission. He is also a member of the Council of Europa Nostra.
He has many publications and managed different research projects dealing with heritage preservation, ancient and new sustainable construction materials. He was member of the Scientific Committee of the European-wide research coordination initiative “Joint Program Initiative: Cultural Heritage (JPI-CH)”. Relevant projects and publications are
• the ILUCIDARE project dealing with Cultural Heritage Led innovation and international relations (2018-2022) providing a wealth of educational material on Cultural Heritage led innovation and cultural heritage led international relations: https://ilucidare.eu/resources/database/ilucidare-inspiration-kit;
• Cultural Heritage Counts for Europe project and report (2015) introducing the “upstream approach”.


Eugen Vaida
1) Conservation & Adaptive Reuse
Jury Member & Chair of the Selection Committee

Eugen Vaida is an architect at Asociatia Monumentum, which has been a member organisation of Europa Nostra since 2019. He is a graduate of the Faculty of Architecture at the University of Architecture and Urban Planning „Ion Mincu”, in Bucharest. Among his many projects, Eugen coordinated the Daia Heritage Valorization Plan, developed by the Global Heritage Fund in 2017-2018, and is currently coordinating The Ambulance for Monuments project, which won an Award and the Public Choice Award at the European Heritage Awards / Europa Nostra Awards 2020. He had a defining role in the development of the summer school movement in Romania which has its key
mission in educating young architects and students. He is a Member of the Advisory Group for the European Commission on heritage policies, the Founding member and president of The Federation for Transylvanian Heritage and advisor for the Romanian Ministry for Culture and National Identity. Eugen Vaida published numerous literary works on cultural heritage, including “Saving the culture of the other” (Alţîna, 2021) and “The Architectural Guidebook For Contextual Planning in the Saxon Area” of the Order of Romanian Architects (RURAL Working Group). Eugen Vaida became an Ashoka Fellow in November 2021, benefitting from a lifetime bursary to continue his work in the field of heritage from the world’s leading social entrepreneurship organisation. For it’s dedicated efforts in the education of the public of all generation, Asociatia Monumentum, lead by Eugen Vaida, was knighted by The Romanian Presidency in 2021.

Petr Svoboda
5) Heritage Champions
Jury Member & Chair of the Selection Committee

Petr graduated from the Pharmaceutical Department of the Charles University followed by a doctoral degree in pharmacology (1985). In 1989, he started developing business for ICI Pharmaceuticals in Czechoslovakia and moved to the UK for ICI/Zeneca in 1992, where he worked in various positions for the UK as well as for a number of European and Asian markets. In 1998 he became the Managing Director for Zeneca in Finland. Consequently he acted as the Managing Director for AstraZeneca, Novartis and Baxter in CZ/Slovakia. When completing the restitution process of inherited estate at the turn of the century, he gradually moved to its management. He joined the Czech Association of Castle and Manor Houses

Owners (AMHZ), was elected to the Board and consequently as Vice-President in 2013. He is currently serving his fourth term as Vice-President. Petr is actively representing AMHZ at the European Historic Houses Association (EHHA) meetings, as well as at other national Association meetings e.g. Austria, UK, NextGen. He was also presenting at the international cultural heritage conference in Dublin in June 2017. In 2018 he was elected to Europa Nostra’s Council. He initiated and consequently completed establishment of Europa Nostra’s Representation in Czech Republic in 2019 of which he is the Head.

Prof. Dr. Jacek Purchla
Heritage Awards Jury
Jury Member & Chair of the Heritage Awards Jury

Vice-President of Europa Nostra since 2018. Polish Art Historian and Economist, Professor of Humanities, a member of the Polish Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is the founder of the International Cultural Centre in Kraków, and was its director since its inception in 1991 until 2018. He is the head of the Department of Economic and Social History and the UNESCO Chair for Heritage and Urban Studies at the Kraków University of Economics.

He specialises in urban studies, social and art history, as well as the theory and protection of cultural heritage. Between 2016 and 2017 he was the President of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee.

He is a member of many organisations and associations including The Society of Friends of Kraków History and Heritage (operator of the Europa Nostra Heritage Hub in Kraków), of which he is the current president. He is the author of over 500 academic works, including a number of books published in many languages.

Pedro Ponce de Leon
Heritage Awards Jury
Jury Member

Pedro Ponce de Leon is owner and founder of the “Pedro Ponce de León, Architects”, independent office since 1980, with a deep specialisation in cultural and architectural heritage activities; large experience in the intervention on heritage buildings and monuments, from the feasibility study or preliminary analysis to the study of causes of decay, structure design, construction and restoration techniques and materials. Executive Project Design and also, in close collaboration with multidisciplinary teams, in management works.

Providing technical assistance as well as control and monitoring of criteria, building procedures, planning and economic audit. With more than 50 design and executive projects developed in different countries (Spain, Cuba, Albania, Greece, Mali, Western Balkan countries, etc.