Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Cairo Conference

Cairo heritage
The Antiquities Coalition and the Middle East Institute have organized (May 13th-14th 2015) an international conference in Cairo, Egypt , titled “Cultural Property Under Threat: The Cultural, Economic and Security Impact of Antiquities Theft in the Middle East” addressing the looting of culture and heritage of the Arab world. The meeting takes place under the patronage of Mamdouh Eldamaty, Minister of Antiquities. Several international organizations are participating, including the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The conference will discuss cooperative policies in various areas of archaeological work, particularly facing the looting and smuggling of antiquities and come up with effective solutions that should be announced on the international level.

The conference agenda can be found here

The experts panel on the second day on "Supply and Demand" is of interest: (Herdrich, Brodie, Ramadan, Sullivan, Saint Hilaire, Vlasic). Not a single dealer representative invited. Good.

UPDATE 13th May 2015
Predictably the reaction from the dealers' lobby is not in any form supportive of these efforts to curb the trade in illicit artefacts, oh no. Far from it. They alienated themselves from the heritage debate a decade or more ago, now they are banging on about how policy and other issues are being debated without them. Their lobbyists are now mudslinging about "the Egyptian Generals' (sic) sponsorship of the Cairo conference" and the (undefined) "nature of the Antiquities Coalition's relationship with the Egyptian Government". And what relationships have representatives of the legitimate trade in antiquities (or indeed the trade in illicit ones) established with governments and heritage officials in the source countries?

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