CHAMP Colloquium at AIA Annual Meeting, 2017, Toronto, Ontario

Toronto, Ontario
Saturday, 7 JAN

TITLE:  Current Events and Heritage Protection:  Efforts to Protect Culture at Risk

MODERATOR:  Laurie Rush, U.S. Committee of the Blue Shield

This session offers an opportunity to update colleagues on issues related to heritage in crisis areas. Tragically, in today’s world, events are overtaking even the most conscientious efforts to keep colleagues informed on critical developments in international efforts to be responsible stewards of global heritage. The AIA Annual Meeting offers a forum for face to face discussion of events as they are unfolding from colleagues with first hand and recent in country experience. Potential topics include updates on conditions of sites and monuments as terri- tory is recovered from DAESH, latest research on the military implications for cultural property protection; implementation of Hague 54 in current conflict zones; disaster response; preservation of collections and institutions under threat; and working with the military and law enforcement to protect cultural property.


Laurie Rush and Brian Daniels (Penn Museum Heritage Center) organized a workshop focusing on current events in heritage protection for the Archaeological Institute of America Annual Meeting. Over sixty people attended the workshop which included speakers
Tim Varley and Lisa Guppy from the Humanitarian Unit of the Defense Intelligence Agency;
Brian Lione and Katharyn Hanson from the Iraqi Conservation Institute at Irbil and the Smithsonian;
Nancy Wilkie, President of the US Committee of the Blue Shield;
and David Selnick, retired Air Force LTC and Professor of Intelligence and Security Studies at Tiffin University, Ohio.

Tim Varley and Lisa Guppy explained the importance of the partnership between archaeology and museum specialists and the DIA humanitarian unit in order to share data for development of accurate and comprehensive cultural property inventories in order to protect cultural property during the course of US military operational planning and implementation. They expressed their appreciation for the contributions to this effort made thus far by members of the Archaeological Institute of America including vastly improved lists for Afghanistan and Jordan.

Nancy Wilkie provided an update for the group concerning the work of the Blue Shield, which is the organization designated by the 1954 Hague Convention to support military efforts to implement the commitments made when the Convention was ratified in 2009. The Blue Shield has been providing lists to DIA, and Nancy encouraged all of the members in attendance to participate in supporting the military data collection efforts.

David Selnick provided a summary update of the UNESCO effort to pull together military training material for generic information that could be used at the global level.

Brian and Katharyn introduced the Iraqi Conservation Institute to the group – pointing out the importance of working with members of local communities in productive ways when heritage is at great risk, damaged or destroyed. Katharyn also reported on development of the Mosul heritage guide for military personnel – a graphic training aide written in Arabic, English, and Kurdish. There are plans for a similar graphic training aide for Raqqa and environs.

Brian provided a summary update of US heritage legislation designed to prevent importation of looted antiquities to the US and to establish a more robust reporting requirement for US Federal efforts to protect cultural property.

Laurie provided a brief update on the recent completion of the successful NATO project to establish cultural property protection policy, doctrine and best practices for the Alliance.

After the presentations, there was a very lively discussion with the audience concerning the types of actions AIA might be able to take to further encourage partnership and support of DoD and military efforts to protect cultural property.

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