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AC Leads Discussion on International Cooperation for Safeguarding Cultural Heritage Under Threat

September 1, 2023

Around the world and throughout history, the looting and trafficking of antiquities has flourished when civil society is weakened by conflict, economic crises, natural disasters, climate change, or pandemics. This criminal activity, closely linked to armed conflict and violent extremism, is inflicting grave harm, on both our world heritage and the legitimate market.

At the Antiquities Coalition (AC), we know that to disrupt this illicit trade, preventive actions or solutions require international cooperation.

In partnership with the Cultural Heritage Center in the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, and the Embassy of Yemen, the AC convened a closed-door roundtable event on international and multilateral tools for safeguarding cultural heritage at risk at the National Museum of American Diplomacy on August 30, 2023. Following a presentation on an example of bilateral cooperation between the United States and the Republic of Yemen, the AC led a moderated discussion among representatives from governments, law enforcement, and the private sector.

A variety of solutions were discussed, including:

  • Bilateral and multilateral agreements
  • Cooperation to secure borders
  • Information sharing and coordination among law enforcement agencies
  • Museum repatriation and loans
  • Technical assistance

Following the conversation, the AC was pleased to attend the signing ceremony for a cultural property agreement between the United States and the Republic of Yemen. Speakers included His Excellency Mohammed Al-Hadhrami, Ambassador of the Republic of Yemen to the United States; Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs Lee Satterfield; U.S. Special Envoy for Yemen Tim Lenderking; and Dr. Zaydoon Zaid, Council of American Overseas Research Centers Senior Advisor for Cultural Heritage.

The AC applauds this agreement and looks forward to future efforts to combat the looting of cultural heritage and will continue to foster international dialogue and collaboration about the illicit trade of art and antiquities.