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Live Webinar: One Year After the Ukraine Invasion – How Can Cultural Heritage Professionals Play a Role?

January 26, 2023

Join us for this free webinar on February 6 at 10:00 AM New York 

February 24, 2023, marks one year since Russian forces invaded Ukraine, resulting in the immense destruction of livelihoods, communities, and cultural heritage. As efforts to strip Ukraine of its cultural identity continue today, the Antiquities Coalition will convene cultural heritage experts on February 6 to reflect on and discuss strategies for preserving and protecting the country’s history.

Speakers include Damian Koropeckyj and Dr. Kate Harrell who recently co-authored a policy brief for the Antiquities Coalition’s Think Tank. In their brief, Harrell and Koropeckyj call on cultural heritage professionals to play an active part in the ongoing conversation about taking down cultural monuments (or monument removal), given the field’s wealth of knowledge regarding the care, conservation, documentation relocation, storage, and removal of cultural property. The authors provide a series of recommendations to support heritage professionals in developing such principles based on what has worked in the museum context, which have relevance not only for the situation in Ukraine but also around the world.     

“Moving forward together as an international community of experts in heritage is particularly important in the face of issues as fraught as monumental removal,” Harrell and Koropeckyj write. “The policy recommendations that follow should be considered a call for action for both heritage workers and their executive organizational bodies.”

In addition to the destruction of monuments and sites, experts also report that the invasion represents the biggest art heist since the Nazis in World War II, with tens of thousands of pieces looted, including avant-garde oil paintings and Scythian gold. Looting and destruction of cultural heritage has huge implications for the war—in 2022, Dr. Christopher Jasparro warned in his co-authored policy brief for the AC Think Tank that historical propaganda and the exploitation of cultural heritage have become a central component of the Kremlin’s information warfare campaigns. Jasparro will join the webinar to provide an update on this situation, along with Dr. Samuel Hardy, a cultural property criminologist who is conducting research on Ukraine.

From recent conflicts in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan, and now, Ukraine, the international community has seen the catastrophic impact of war on cultural heritage. Ukrainians will face significant challenges in recovering their art and artifacts and rebuilding their communities. Law enforcement, governments, heritage professionals, and the art market can play a role in protecting Ukrainian heritage. The Antiquities Coalition looks forward to your participation in this important conversation. 

Moderated by Tess Davis, Executive Director of the Antiquities Coalition. 

Meet the Speakers

Kate Harrell

Dr. Kate Harrell is an archaeologist working in international cultural heritage protection. She has extensive professional experience working in mission focused organizations, including academic, non-profit, and U.S. government enterprises. Kate is currently an investigator with the Conflict Observatory, a non-profit consortium funded by the U.S. Department of State, which seeks to research and document Russian-perpetrated war crimes in Ukraine. She holds the position of Senior Research Associate at the Virginia Museum of Natural History and is the Director of Education at the Cultural Heritage Monitoring Lab. After serving seven years of active duty service as an Intelligence Officer in the U.S. Navy, Kate is also a minority veteran. She currently serves in the U.S. Navy Reserves.

Sam Hardy

Dr. Samuel Hardy is the Head of Illicit Trade Research at the Heritage Management Organization. Trained in archaeology at the University of Sheffield, cultural heritage studies at University College London and social research methods plus socio-legal studies at the University of Sussex, Sam has served as a consultant for Global Witness, UNESCO, the UNESCO Office in Amman and the International Council of Museums (ICOM). He has delivered training for UNESCO; the UNESCO Office in Beirut; the ICCROM-ATHAR Regional Conservation Centre and Interpol; France’s National Police College (ENSP); the World Customs Organization (WCO); and the Peace Operations Training Centre (POTC), as part of European Union Police and Civilian Services Training (EUPCST). His research focuses on cultural property crime at times of socio-economic crisis, political crisis and political violence. Currently works as Illicit Heritage Research Officer for the Heritage Management Organization.

Chris Jasparro

Dr. Chris Jasparro is a geographer and archaeologist specializing in cultural property protection and transnational security issues on the faculty of the US Naval War College. He is co-author of the Antiquities Coalition Policy Brief “How Does Russia Exploit History and Cultural Heritage for Information Warfare? Recommendations for NATO.”

Damian Koropeckyj

Damian Koropeckyj is a consultant in cultural heritage risk management. He previously worked as a Senior Analyst at the Cultural Heritage Monitoring Lab, Virginia Museum of Natural History. His research on the exploitation of cultural heritage in conflict has been presented to the U.S. Committee of the Blue Shield and members of the UK Parliament. Damian has developed policies and tools to enhance monitoring of information operations concerning cultural heritage for the federal government.