Current Members of the Advisory Body

Toufik Hamoum

Toufik Hamoum (Algeria)

Since 2010, Toufik Hamoum has been in charge of archeology projects at the University of Algiers and the National Archaeological Research Center. Hamoum is a Doctor in Archeology and Sciences of the Antiquity (2009) and specialist archeology and epigraphy of the old Maghreb from  the university of Algiers. Hamoum has been a researcher at the French Ministry of Culture (2005 and 2007) and a member of the scientific team of the Etruscan village Mussana and the archaeological excavations at Palatino, Rome (1991-1992).

He has worked as a professor and associate director at the Institute of Archeology at the University of Algiers (2002-2009 and 2010-2015), at the Upper School of Fine Arts in Algiers and at the National Museum of Antiquities in Algiers (1991- 1992). He is the author of numerous publications in different magazines in relation to epigraphic studies and the society of the Roman Africa in the antiquity. 

Auron Tare

Auron Tare, Chairperson (Albania)

Auron Tare is the Executive Director of The Albanian Center of Marine Research which is an ongoing underwater archaeology research in Albania. This Project is funded and supported by RPM Nautical Foundation 501© and Institute of Nautical Archaeology. He is one of the founders of Butrint National Park, a World Heritage Site of UNESCO and the First Director of the World Heritage Site of Butrint.
He has worked for many years in mobilizing interest and support among many international organizations and institutions like UNESCO, World Bank, Ramsar Convention, Butrint Foundation, Oak Foundation, Mifflin Trust, and other organizations to protect and preserve this unique historical site. His efforts were rewarded in 2000 when the Albanian Government along with UNESCO declared the park a protected World Heritage Site. He has been elected as member of Advisory body in April 2015.


Dolores Elkin

Dolores Elkin, Vice Chairperson (Argentina)

Dolores Elkin is an Argentinean archaeologist and a professional scientific diver who holds a research position at the National Research Agency (CONICET). She graduated with a Doctoral degree from the University of Buenos Aires in 1996, and since then has developed the first Underwater Archaeology Program in the country - based in the National Institute of Anthropology- involving mostly research and management projects. She has been a professor both at the University of Buenos Aires and the National University of the Central Province of Buenos Aires, contributing to the development of the speciality both at graduate and postgraduate levels. During the 3rd meeting of 19 April 2012 she was elected Chairperson of the Advisory Body.

Jasen Mesic

Jasen Mesic (Croatia)

Currently Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Croatia in the Italian Republic, Jasen Mesić participated on behalf of his country’s delegation in the four expert meetings for the drafting of the UNESCO Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage (2001). He is an archaeologist of international and educational background, author and co-author of scientific publications in the field, director of numerous underwater archaeological projects, experienced professional archaeological diver and member of the ICOMOS International Committee on the Underwater Cultural Heritage (ICUCH). Jasen Mesić has been actively engaged in the protection of underwater cultural heritage in the Adriatic coast of Croatia since the 1990s. With his support, the International Centre for Underwater Archaeology was founded in Zagreb in 2007.



Ovidio Juan Ortega Pereyra

Ovidio Juan Ortega Pereyra (Cuba)

Ovidio Juan Ortega Pereyra graduated with a degree in art history (emphasis on archaeology) from Havana University, and obtained a PhD in archaeology in 1996.  Since 1982, he has worked as a scientific researcher at the Cuban Science Academy, where his main area of interest is the history of technology (mainly the construction of ships), as well as pre-Columbian and colonial period archaeology. Until 1999, he was deputy director of the Cuban Anthropological Institute. Pereyra is a member of the National Archaeological Committee, the National Union of Cuban Historians and the Group of Naval Historians of the Cuban Republic.  He is the author of multiple publications and scientific papers in the fields of archaeology and history. Since 2000, he has been the head of the Archaeological Department of the Direction of Underwater Studies of Maritime Services. 

Michel L'Hour

Michel L'Hour (France)

General curator for underwater archaeology, PhD in underwater archaeology, and Member of the Marine Academy, Michel L'Hour has been the Director of the Department of Underwater Archaeological Research (DRASSM) of the Ministry of Culture of France since 2006. He joined the DRASSM in 1982 as underwater archaeologist, where he was responsible for the western coasts of France, the overseas territories and international relations. He has directed numerous major underwater archaeological excavations both in France and abroad and specializes in the history of maritime trade from the late Middle Ages to the dawn of the modern era. L'Hour is regularly sought after as an expert by many international organisations such as UNESCO, ICOM and Interpol and is the author of numerous articles and books on the subject. He has curated major exhibitions such as the 'Sea for Memory' from 2005 to 2009, and 'The Mystery of Lapérouse', in the National Maritime Museum in 2008. He was the President of the Scientific and Technical Advisory Body of the UNESCO 2001 Convention for the Protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage in 2014-2015. During the 6th meeting of 30 April 2015 he was elected Rapporteur of the Advisory Body.


María Elena Barba Meinecke

María Helena Barba Meinecke (Mexico)

Helena Barba was born in México City in 1970. She graduated with a degree in Mexican Archeology from the National School of Anthropology and History in Mexico, and is a professional scientific diver with CEMAS. She was Chief of the Project Department in National Coordination of Archaeology in The National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) from 1994 to 2001. She participated as chief in the field in several archaeological projects in the State of Campeche. At present she is the head of Underwater Archaeology in the Yucatan Peninsula and the Underwater Archeology Vicedirectorate, INAH, since 2003.

Barba has participated in national and international academic forums on Underwater Archaeology. She is also the author of scientific and popular articles in national and international publications, and has been the curator of many exhibitions related to Underwater Archaeology.

She is an Associate Member of the ACUA Board from the Historic Archaeology Society of the Mexican Association of Anthropologists and a representative of Mexico in the Meeting of States Parties to the 2001 Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage. She has been a member of the Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee since May 2015.

Azzedine Karra

Azzedine Karra (Morocco)

Azzedine Karra is a diver and a Doctor in Archeology and Heritage (2002) from the National Institute of Sciences of Archeology and Patrimony (I.N.S.A.P.). Since 2014 he has been Regional Director of Culture in Marrakesh, and before that, in the region of Doukkala Abda (2007-2011) and in the region of Fes Boulmane (2011-2014)

He has worked as Director of a study center and an alternate professor of archeology in El Jadida. Karra has coordinated archaeological programs and has extensive experience in underwater archeology. Since 2013 he has worked closely with UNESCO in relation to underwater archeology as a representative of Morocco and as an organizing member of different congresses and seminars.

Augustus Ajibola

Augustus Babajide Ajibola (Nigeria)

Augustus Babajide Ajibola  is deputy  Director and head of UNESCO Division in the Federal Ministry of Culture, Nigeria. He is actively involved in national policy making in Culture. He effectively and consistently represented Nigeria at various meetings of the 2001 Convention on the Protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage as well as other Conventions. He is in the forefront at ensuring the domestication of 2001 Convention along with others into Nigeria’s National Legislations. He has facilitated various capacity building initiatives including  UNESCO Unitwin program. He coordinated the first Regional Meeting on Underwater Cultural Heritage in Africa from 10th  – 12th November, 2013 in Yenegoa, Nigeria and participated at the 2nd Regional Meeting that took place in Malindi,  Kenya from 24th- 26th  March,2015 as a Resource person. He has represented Group 5(a) since 2011 and was Vice Chairman of Scientific and Technical Advisory Body of this Convention twice in 2012 and 2014. During the 6th meeting of 30 April 2015, he was elected Chairperson of the Advisory Body.

Xavier Nieto Prieto

Xavier Nieto Prieto (Spain)

Xavier Nieto Prieto was appointed director of the Spanish National Museum of Underwater Archaeology in Cartagena (ARQUA) in 2010, having directed the Centre d’Arqueologia Subacuàtica de Catalunya since 1992. He was previously appointed professor of underwater archaeology at Barcelona University, having worked in the archaeological research centre in Diputación de Girona. He holds a BA, MD and PhD in prehistory and ancient history, and has published extensively in the field of underwater archaeology. He has served as a member of the Group P.A.C.T. at the Council of Europe and is the Spanish representative at the ICOMOS/ICUCH. M. Prieto was elected as member of Advisory body during its 6th session in April 2015.

Adote Blim Blivi

Adote Blim Blivi (Togo)

Adote Blim Blivi holds a PhD in Tropical Physical Geography (1993) and has long experience in the areas of geomorphology, littoral environment, oceanography, coastal erosion and sedimentation, natural hazards, floods and ecosystem vulnerability.

He has worked as a consultant, coordinator and expert for different international organizations and universities. He maintains a close relationship with UNESCO, for which he has worked as a coordinator and expert on different projects at an international level. The projects he has worked on include the Regional Project Research and Training on Coastal Marine Systems in Africa (1987-1998), the United Nations Environment Program (1990-2009), World Bank (1996) and the Economic and Monetary Union of Africa (2004-2016).

Previous Members

Previous members of the Advisory Body: 

  • Andrej Gaspari (Slovenia)
  • Annalisa Zarattini (Italy)
  • Carmen García Rivera (Spain)
  • Constantin Chera (Romania)
  • Francisco Alves (Portugal)
  • Hossein Tofighian (Islamic Republic of Iran)
  • Hugo Eliecer Bonilla Mendoza (Panama)
  • Kalin Stoynev Porozhnov (Bulgaria)
  • Milton Eric Branford (Saint Lucia)
  • Ms Ouafa Ben Slimane (Tunisia)
  • Pilar Luna Erreguerena (Mexico)
  • Serhiy Oleksandrovych Voronov (Ukraine)
  • Seyed Hossein Sadat Meidani (Islamic Republic of Iran)
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