Update: On 6th October 2015 the Department of Sate posted a set of documents relating to this conference. I have added that material below under the heading: Conflict Antiquities: Forging a Public/Private Response to Save the Endangered Patrimony of Iraq and Syria
Conflict Antiquities: Forging a Public/Private Response to Save Iraq and Syria's Endangered Cultural Heritage
The Department of State and The Metropolitan Museum of Art are co-sponsoring an experts’ symposium at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on September 29 from 4:30 to 7:00 p.m. that will feature two panels reviewing international cooperation against the looting and trafficking of antiquities from the conflict in Iraq and Syria...
Opening speakers include Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Director and CEO of The Metropolitan Museum of Art Thomas P. Campbell, and UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova, followed by two panels.
Speakers on the first panel on “Looting and Destruction of Iraqi and Syrian Cultural Heritage; What We Know, What Can Be Done” were:
- Michael Danti, American Schools of Oriental Research [See below]
- Andrew Keller, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs, Department of State [See below]
- Robert Hartung, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of Diplomatic Security, Department of State [See below]
- Lev Kubiak, Assistant Director, International Operations, Homeland Security Investigations, Department of Homeland Security
- Richard W. Downing, Deputy Assistant Attorney General, U.S. Department of Justice
- Mauro Miedico, Chief of Section, Terrorism Prevention Branch, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime
Speakers on the second panel on “The Role of Private Institutions and Collectors in Fostering Best Practices and Public Education” were:
- Jennifer Janisch, Investigative Producer, CBS News [See below]
- Sharon Cott, Senior Vice President, Secretary, and General Counsel, The Metropolitan Museum of Art
- Ute Wartenberg Kagan, Executive Director, American Numismatic Society [See below]
- Markus Hilgert, Director, Pergamon Museum [See below]
- Sandy Cobden, General Counsel, Christie’s Auction House
- Wolfgang Weber, Head of Global Regulatory Policy, eBay
Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Richard Stengel will speak at the conclusion of the event.Morag Kersel assembled the Twitter traffic on the hashtag #HeritageInPeril as follows:
Needless to say there will continue to be residual comment using that hashtag. Many thanks in particular to Andrew Reinhard and Christopher Jones who were present in the room and who live-tweeted the conference making it live for us who were not there especially after the video stream went dead in the second half of the program.
In the first panel:
- Video of Assistant Secretary Ryan's introductory comments at the Symposium on Conflict Antiquities
- Video of Deputy Secretary Blinken's introductory comments on Endangered Patrimony of Iraq and Syria Among other things he highlighted the Nimrud ivory looted from the Mosul Museum. [n.b. Eight volumes of final publications of Ivories from Nimrud are available online, open access], and recovered in the Abu Sayyaf raid.
- Michael Danti summarized the issues on the basis of the work of the ASOR Cultural Heritage Initiatives
- Andrew Keller presented on Documenting ISIL's Antiquities Trafficking and presented new details of information gathered in the Abu Sayyaf raid. His slides are available here.
- The remaining members of the panel presented a variety of activities of law enforcement agencies. In particular it was noted the Rewards for Justice program is offering a reward of up to $5 million for information leading to the significant disruption of the sale and/or trade of oil and antiquities by the Islamic State. Noted (eg.) that this reward appears to be specific to activity of Da'esh. What about other illegal actors?
- Jennifer Janisch presented on investigative work by CBS News on the trade in antiquities
- Ute Wartenberg Kagan's presentation was based on a longer text, available in full on the webspace of the American Numismatic Society: Collecting Coins and the Conflict in Syria. Also at Academia.edu
- Markus Hilgert presented the efforts of the museum he represents and noted in particular the new cooperative effort ILLICID (Verfahren zur Erhellung des Dunkelfeldes als Grundlage für Kriminalitätsbekämpfung und -prävention am Beispiel antiker Kulturgüter).
- Representatives from Christie's and EBay presented the efforts of those organizations to combat the sale of illicit antiquities through their organizations.
- Highlights from “Conflict Antiquities: Forging a Public/Private Response to Save Iraq and Syria's Endangered Cultural Heritage” at the ARCA Blog
- New Documents Prove ISIS Heavily Involved in Antiquities Trafficking, by Christopher Jones at Gates of Nineveh
Conflict Antiquities: Forging a Public/Private Response to Save the Endangered Patrimony of Iraq and Syria
The Department of State and The Metropolitan Museum of Art co-sponsored an experts’ symposium at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on September 29 from 4:30 to 7:00 p.m. that featured two panels reviewing international cooperation against the looting and trafficking of antiquities from the conflict in Iraq and Syria.
Panel discussions highlighted the connection between ISIL’s looting and trafficking of antiquities and the financing of its terrorist operations; emphasized the importance of effective international law enforcement action to curb the activities of traffickers, and unscrupulous dealers and collectors; identified practical ways to share information and documentation on the looting and destruction of Iraqi and Syrian archeological and historical sites; and forged public-private education and advocacy campaigns about best practices for museums, collectors, and auction houses around the world. U.S. government representatives provided new evidence that ISIL is looting for profit and discussed a new initiative to combat the trade in conflict antiquities.- See more at: http://eca.state.gov/cultural-heritage-center/conflict-antiquities#sthash.PCN6IHcl.dpuf
Please comment if you have corrections, additions, or you own synopsis of what was said.