At the AIA Annual Meeting in Jan 2014, officers from the AIA, US Committee of the Blue Shield (USCBS), CHAMP, and the Combatant Commanders Cultural Heritage Action Group (MilCHAG) (a CHAMP member group) met to discuss the relationship of these groups with each other. At this meeting, USCBS invited CHAMP to partner with it as an independent, but related, organization. The Association of the National Committees of the Blue Shield (ANCBS), its US partner USCBS, and CHAMP have the same interests, but CHAMP has closer ties to military organizations. These organizations can provide mutual support to each other.
To acknowledge this partnership, CHAMP has formally changed its name from Cultural Heritage by Archaeological Institute of America and Military Panel to Cultural Heritage by Archaeology and Military Panel. This name change allows the group to broaden its mission to include any organization concerned with archaeology. It also acknowledges that CHAMP is not an official partner or committee of the AIA, although most CHAMP members are AIA members.
This new partnership between CHAMP and USCBS does not mean that CHAMP is discontinuing our interests with AIA. To the contrary, CHAMP will continue to be a source of important information for the AIA on protection of cultural property during conflict. AIA and USCBS are also starting to explore development of a formal partnership between the organizations. As a USCBS committee, CHAMP will also develop a more formal relationship with AIA in time.
A major impetus behind these changes is CHAMP’s informal status as an interest group, rather than a formally instituted organization with national and international recognition and support. This has hindered its credibility to represent its interests and concerns. On the other hand, AIA and the ANCBS (including USCBS) are nationally and internationally recognized. In order for CHAMP to become more effective as an organization, all CHAMP members are encouraged to become members of both the AIA and the Blue Shield Committee of their respective countries, as well as other cultural heritage organizations with similar goals. To join the AIA, go to website http://www.archaeological.org/join. To join the Blue Shield committee of your nation, go to website Association of the National Committees of the BlueShield http://www.ancbs.org/cms/index.php/en/about-us/about-ancbs.