Culture in the Crossfire: The Security and Policy Implications of the Trafficking and Destruction of Antiquities

Conference: Culture in the Crossfire: The Security and Policy Implications of the Trafficking and Destruction of Antiquities

March 4 2016
Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey
460 Pierce St
Monterey, CA 93940
831.647.4100 (Main)

The conflicts in Syria and Iraq, coupled with the rise of the Islamic State (IS), have brought renewed attention to the plight of cultural heritage in the Middle East and throughout the world. The trafficking and destruction of antiquities funds armed groups and organized crime, while also fulfilling the ideological goals of extremists. Without efforts to protect cultural heritage, it is likely that irreplaceable losses to our shared history will continue unabated.

The goal of this conference is to accurately portray the global scale of these problems and to propose tangible policy solutions for the public and private sectors to address these phenomena.

The Conference agenda is:

The Monterey Terrorism Research and Education Program (MonTREP) and the Terrorism Studies Club are pleased to announce a topical conference for multi-disciplinary panelists with expertise in the following fields: cultural heritage and the illicit antiquities trade, anti-money laundering and counter threat finance, military and counterterrorism, as well as policy and diplomacy. The goal of the conference is to discuss policy solutions to the trafficking and destruction of cultural heritage at the global level. In addition to panelists, this conference is open to professional delegates, students, and the public in order to provide for a wide-reaching and educational forum.Panelists will present papers, research projects, or their hands-on experience pertaining to these topics as a member of one of the conference panels.

Registration and Coffee Reception


Conference Kick-off


Keynote Speaker:
Col. Matthew Bogdanos, Keynote speaker, USMC (ret), Lead investigator of the looting of the Baghdad Museum in 2003


5 Minute Break


Panel One: “Antiquities trafficking and destruction in the Middle East”

This panel will examine the long standing tradition of antiquities trafficking throughout the Middle East, as well as the regional and global implications of the Syrian and Iraqi wars.

Moderator: Dino Pick, Chairman of DLI Foundation

Col. Matthew Bogdanos, Keynote speaker, USMC (ret), Lead investigator of the looting of the Baghdad Museum in 2003
Amr Al-Azm, Archaeologist, Shawnee State University
Katie Paul, Anthropologist, Antiquities Coalition
Phil Williams, Director Ridgway Center
Allison Cuneo, Project Manager for ASOR Cultural Heritage Initiatives
Mahmoud Abdalla, Director of MIIS Arabic program and Middlebury Summer Arabic program




Panel Two: “A Global Survey of Cultural Heritage Under Threat”

This panel will move beyond the Middle East and examine the greater threats posed to the world’s cultural heritage in the 21st century. The focus will not be limited solely to areas experiencing armed conflict, but also regions with significant cultural heritages that are vulnerable to exploitation in the forms of trafficking and destruction.

Moderator: Phil Williams, Moderator, University of Pittsburgh

Tess Davis, Archaeologist, Antiquities Coalition
Jason Felch, Author of Chasing Aphrodite
David Karg, Fellow at Ridgway Center




Panel Three: “Conceptualizing New Public-Private Policy Directions”

This panel will address potential policy solutions to the supply and demand sides of the global antiquities trade, as well as new approaches to prevent and mitigate the destruction of irreplaceable cultural heritage. It will also examine the role that private sector antiquities stakeholders play in preventing trafficked items from entering legitimate markets and posing a liability to dealers, museums, and collectors.

Moderator: Deborah Lehr, Chairwoman and Founder of the Antiquities Coalition

Mark Vlasic, International Law, Georgetown University
Erik Nemeth, Researcher, RAND Corporation
Collette Loll, Founder and Director, Art Fraud Insights
Tommy Livoti, Archaeologist, University of Montana


Closing Comments


Happy Hour with Speakers at Cibo Restaurant

Further details and registration on their webpage.