May 13-14, 2015
ISIS’ deliberate and targeted destruction of cultural heritage in Iraq and Syria has shocked the world and demanded a response.
While we cannot stop the sledgehammers, we can stop ISIS and other terrorists from profiting from this stolen treasure.
The Antiquities Coalition has formed a powerful alliance with the Arab Republic of Egypt, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and the Middle East Institute to shut down ISIS funding from cultural racketeering. We launched this initiative with an emergency conference in Cairo from 13-14 May 2015.
The 2015 Cairo Conference: Cultural Property Under Threat brought together ministers of antiquities, culture, tourism, and foreign affairs for ten key governments in the Middle East and North Africa, as well as Irina Bokova, director-general of UNESCO and Nail al-Araby, Secretary General of the Arab League. Leading international experts – including archaeologists, business leaders, former military officials, lawyers, and experts in counter-terrorism, law enforcement, and security – also came from around the world to participate. This audience of decision-makers and specialists presented an unprecedented opportunity to develop regional solutions to cultural cleansing and cultural racketeering, in keeping with the Antiquities Coalition’s mission of safeguarding our shared cultural heritage.
At the end of the conference, the ten participating countries issued the historic Cairo Declaration, denouncing the “blood antiquities” trade and announcing a regional “action plan” to stop terrorist financing through cultural racketeering. Work is already underway to fulfill the declaration’s goals. Please visit our website for updates on recent activity.
The Antiquities Coalition is launched its video series titled “Culture Under Threat: Terrorism and Profiteering,” featuring panelists from the Cairo Conference, which brought together an unprecedented group to tackle cultural racketeering and terrorist financing. Some of the issues covered in this series include the looting crisis, illicit antiquities trade, and its connection to terrorism.