Our Mission and Values


Welcome from the Chairman

On behalf of our entire team—and the communities and countries we work to support—we sincerely thank you for joining the Antiquities Coalition in our mission to safeguard the world’s heritage from cultural racketeering. 

Today, no culture with a past worth protecting is safe from tomb raiders and art smugglers. This illicit trade is a threat not just to our shared history, but to human rights, national economies, and global security. But while the problem is immense, so, too, are the possible solutions. 

We are proud to lead a global campaign against cultural racketeering. We champion better law and policy, foster diplomatic cooperation, and advance other proven solutions in partnership with governments, market leaders, and local communities. With your help, we will realize a future in which the past is preserved for the next generation—not looted, smuggled, and sold to finance crime, conflict, and terror. 

We thank you again and invite you to browse our website to learn more about our work.


Deborah Lehr

Chairman and Founder
Antiquities Coalition

Our Mission

To protect our shared heritage and global security, the Antiquities Coalition is leading the international campaign against cultural racketeering, the illicit trade in ancient art and artifacts. We champion better law and policy, foster diplomatic cooperation, and advance proven solutions with public and private partners worldwide. We are working towards a future when the past is preserved for the next generation, not looted, smuggled, and sold to finance crime, conflict, and terror.

Our Values

The Antiquities Coalition is guided by core values that serve as the foundation of our organizational culture and practice, guiding our Board of Directors, Advisory Council, and staff as we work to achieve our mission.

We believe:

  1. Antiquities and the ancient sites from which they come are irreplaceable resources. They serve as a tangible link to our culture, history, and environment, helping us to understand who we are, who we have been, and who we may become. While they hold different value to different peoples, they predate many of the modern world’s political, economic, and religious differences, and thus unite rather than divide us.
  2. This shared heritage is being destroyed by cultural racketeering, the looting and trafficking of antiquities, to feed the growing market for ancient art. The illicit trade is robbing future generations of their past. It is also a threat to economic and national security, as it is closely linked to the financing of organized crime, armed conflict, and violent extremism.
  3. Terrorist organizations are additionally using heritage as a weapon of war, through ideological and intentional cultural destruction. This is an atrocity crime in itself, as well as a warning sign of impending war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide.
  4. Responsible cultural exchange can fight these threats by fostering mutual understanding, appreciation, and respect among peoples and nations. The lawful and ethical collection and trade in antiquities can do the same, so long as it does not harm local communities, disrupt the historical record, or fund crime, conflict, or violent extremism. Repatriation can also serve as a bridge between cultures, and moreover, an opportunity to right past wrongs.
  5. Cultural heritage is inseparable from individual and community identity. Access to it is a fundamental human right, necessitating the protection and preservation of antiquities and historical sites. The intentional destruction of cultural heritage is a violation of human rights.
  6. Cultural heritage is a fundamental source of innovation, creativity, and development. Responsible tourism can promote sustainable economic growth and is an important component of the fight against poverty.
  7. Nations must safeguard cultural heritage within their borders, holding it in trust for their citizens and those of the world, while also honoring the cultural heritage of other nations.
  8. We believe in the universality of this mission and that everyone has a role to play.

Learn How You Can Help


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