Education Roundtable Notes

AIA 2012

Moderator: Lisa Kahn, Georgetown University

 Summary: A diverse group of 10 participants comprised the discussants, representing K-12, university, and military education in the US and Canada.  The group explored past, on-going, and developing programs. The group articulated strengths and weaknesses and offered advice.    

An overarching theme is communication: between the military, legislators, and content experts in academia, between cultural heritage specialists and others, between branches of the US military, between the US and other nations also working on issues of cultural heritage preservation.

 A list of 9 actionable items was formulated to reflect the topics presented.

 1.      Social Media:  this was recommended for information delivery and for other applications in the field.

2. Lobbying and Public Relations were seen as necessary initiatives for AIA to press for military training in at least the basics of Cultural Heritage Protection, in support of Hague 1954. 

3.      Another campaign might push for state educational curricula to include issues of cultural heritage and global heritage stewardship at K-12 levels.

4.      New Products, including the Department of Defense Legacy Resource Management Program’s upcoming Soldier’s Field Card for reporting Cultural Property Protection issues in the field were presented and will have an actual card as well as an app for online reporting.  It was suggested that in addition to alerting officials of these issues, the data could be compiled, providing current records of property conditions.  New websites for Iraq, Afghanistan, and Egypt are also about to be rolled out.  Webinars and web-based training modules for Cultural Property Protection Archaeology Awareness are being developed and implemented too.

5.      The US Air University is running courses enriching their students’ knowledge of Cultural Heritage issues and has created the Expeditionary US Airman’s Field Guide.  This has not been shared between military branches and might provide a model or resource for others.

6.      The issue of delivery systems is a big concern.  Once websites and other media are developed how are troops and others made aware of materials and is it always accessible?  Delivery of training modules is still under consideration.  Academic courses, such as Cultural Heritage Protection, delivered online to troops and civilian students through UMUC is reaching a few hundred students per year, but training within the military is advised in order to reach more.

7.      Deploying troop training is ongoing, but is problematic due to difficulties in making contacts and arranging venues.  It is advised that contact lists of Subject Matter Experts be created and an official protocol for contacting military bases pursued.  Coordination of this may need to be an official duty of AIA.

8.      Seek greater inclusion of academics in the process.  Shared lectures, on military bases and academic campuses might bring about more participation.  Reach out to them through media.

9.      Aid academics in teaching Cultural Heritage subjects by providing links to a comprehensive searchable bibliography (developed by Center for Environmental Management of Lands).  This can be linked on both the CHAMP website and the AIA website.


Dear Colleagues: 

I wanted to follow-up on my comments at AIA (this year and last) about the benefits of joining forces between those engaged in property (or material) approaches to culture and those working on people (or interactional) centered efforts. Pardon my persistence, but I believe this an important matter and a win-win situation. Perhaps it is because I am the product of a 4-field graduate program in anthropology. Or maybe I’m just stubborn.

 In any case, I thought that many of you would be interested to know – and perhaps some of you might like to join – a community of practice on matters of security and culture with 465-members working in at least 22 countries.

The Military Anthropology Network or Mil_Ant_Net (whose name the group has long since outgrown) was established in 2003 and can be accessed at <> . The group’s description follows:

 “Mil_Ant_Net is an on-line community of practice that facilitates free and informed exchange between academics and practitioners on matters related to culture, anthropology and the security sector – all broadly understood. The Network’s membership is international and anthropologists (mostly social and cultural, but also linguistic, archaeological and a few biological), members of related disciplines (sociology, psychology, etc.) and practitioners (civilian and military) who hold many opinions and beliefs but are united by their interest in and efforts to study, teach and/or assist military/security organizations, issues and personnel.”

Let me assure you that “culture … broadly understood” definitely includes cultural heritage/property, as the presence of archaeologists (including some members of CHAMP) in Mil_Ant_Net should confirm. I hope that some of you will join, increasing communication and collaboration between these two communities.