AIA/ASOR Symposium
Sponsored by NEH with assistance from CAORC and The Rust Family Foundation*
Friday, December 11, 2015 - 12:30pm to 2:30pm

The National Geographic Society, Grosvenor Auditorium, M Street Lobby
1145 17th St NW
Washington, DC
United States


Protecting our Shared Heritage in Syria—
An International Summit to Promote Collaboration

Free and Open to the Public


12:30-1:00pm: Welcome and Announcement of Collaborative Efforts by International Teams
  • Gary Knell, President and CEO, National Geographic Society
  • Susan Ackerman, ASOR President
  • Phillipp Ackermann, Minister and Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany
  • TBA, US Department of State
  • William Adams, Chairman, National Endowment for the Humanities
1:00-2:00pm: Lightning Round Sessions By 20 International Teams
2:00-2:30pm: Reactions and Responses from Syrian Colleagues and Conclusions
  • Samir Abdulac, ICOMOS
  • Salam Al Kuntar, Penn Cultural Heritage Center
  • Amr Al-Azm, Shawnee State University and The Day After Project
  • William Adams, Chairman, National Endowment for the Humanites
  • Andrew Moore, AIA President

Description: Since 2011, the world has witnessed the destruction of cultural heritage and cultural warfare that has been unparalleled since World War II. The American Schools of Oriental Research (ASOR) and The Archaeological Institute of America (AIA) have received funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) for a groundbreaking, international summit that will empower groups protecting cultural heritage in Syria and other conflict zones to work collaboratively and efficiently as they respond to imperiled sites and collections.

This open symposium features 20 international organizations who are meeting to discuss collaborative solutions to this crisis: AIA; The Antiquities Coalition; ASOR Cultural Heritage Initiatives; Computational Research of the Ancient Near East (CRANE, at the University of Toronto); CyArk; Endangered Archaeology in the Middle East & North Africa (EAMENA, at Oxford University); The Getty Conservation Institute (GCI); International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS); Manar al-Athar; Penn Cultural Heritage Center; Shirin; The Smithsonian Institute; The Syrian Heritage Archive Project (a joint project of German Archaeological Institute and the Museum for Islamic Art, Berlin); The Day After Project; The Past For Sale Initiative at The University of Chicago; UNESCO; UNOSAT; United Nations Security Council; U.S. Committee of the Blue Shield; The World Monuments Fund (WMF); and Yale University.

* Funding for the two-day summit and this symposium has been provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) with additional assistance from the Council for American Overseas Research Centers (CAORC), and The Rust Family Foundation. Indirect support has been provided by the NEH, the National Geographic Society, AIA, and ASOR.

About The National Endowment for the Humanities: Celebrating its 50th anniversary as an independent federal agency in 2015-16, National Endowment for the Humanities brings the best in humanities research, public programs, education, and preservation projects to the American people. To date, NEH has awarded $5 billion in grants to build the nation’s cultural capital—at museums, libraries, colleges and universities, archives, and historical societies—and advance our understanding and appreciation of history, literature, philosophy, and language. Learn more at

About The Archaeological Institute of America: AIA promotes archaeological inquiry and public understanding of the material record of the human past to foster an appreciation of diverse cultures and our shared humanity.  The AIA supports archaeologists, their research and its dissemination, and the ethical practice of archaeology. Learn more at

About The American Schools of Oriental Research: ASOR, founded in 1900, is an international organization whose mission is to initiate, encourage, and support research into, and public understanding of, the history and cultures of the Near East and wider Mediterranean, from the earliest times. Learn more at and

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