Orlovska Vira



Vira Orlovska is a visiting excellence scholar at the Institute of Environmental Sciences (ISE), Environmental Governance and Territorial Development (GEDT). Vira is working on a 1-year research project in the field of world heritage. Vira holds an M.A. degree in World Heritage Studies from the Brandenburg Technical University Cottbus-Senftenberg with hands-on experience in transboundary conservation.

Prior to joining the University of Geneva, Vira supported the work of the ALIPH Foundation - International alliance for the protection of heritage in conflict areas in Ukraine. She also worked as a consultant for the German Development Cooperation (GIZ) supporting the preparation of the World Heritage Nomination Dossier for Hin Nam No National Park, Lao PDR, as a transboundary extension to the Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park World Heritage Site, Viet Nam. Vira continues to collaborate on various professional projects concurrent with her research focus and supports the development of Geneva Heritage Lab initiated by the University of Geneva.

Fields of interest

UNESCO World Heritage, culture-nature linkages in heritage sites, transboundary cooperation for heritage management

Research project

Chornobyl Exclusion Zone: a heritage site in danger?

As a site of culture, Chornobyl Exclusion Zone represents a place of memory and learning about the dangers of nuclear technologies and governmental mismanagement.

Since the isolation of the site after the catastrophe of 1986, the consequent regeneration of both fauna and flora has created a distinct natural area considered of conservation importance.

With the ongoing war Ukraine, both dimensions of Chornobyl’s heritage significance were highly affected. From 24 February to 31 March 2022, the exclusion zone around Chernobyl – a 30-kilometre radius around the nuclear plant near Ukraine’s border with Belarus - was occupied by Russian armed groups.

This research project seeks to research the multi-layered significance of Chornobyl as a heritage area in transition. Specifically, the project seeks to understand the three interlinked dimensions of the site: (i) nature-linkages in the Chornobyl Exclusion Zone, (ii) the role of national and international designations in supporting its management, and (iii) the impacts of war and possible recovery measures.

This project takes place under the supervision of Peter Bille Larsen, Senior lecturer and researcher.

Mme Vira Orlovska

Visiting scholar

+41 22 379 98 40