Abstract: Protecting Cultural Heritage in the Middle East Starts Here


In 2003, when Baghdad fell to the Coalition Forces there was chaos in the streets and looting in the museums.  In more recent years, the revolutions in Egypt, Libya, Syria, and Afghanistan have endangered the cultural heritages of those historical places, but much has changed in the last decade and there have been lessons learned.  There is still a long way to go though, and one of the major obstacles in the progress of more responsible cultural heritage protection is the lack of knowledge regarding this as an issue of importance. Whether you are a deploying soldier, an art dealer, a museum curator, or a concerned citizen, there are some things you should know about Cultural Heritage Protection and this is a start for moving the subject into the light and giving it the attention it deserves.

This lecture looks at the recent situations in the Middle East and analyses the factors in each area which contribute to either the protection of their cultural heritages or the disregard for it.  Factors such as education, religious training, poverty, and self-determination weigh heavily on the ability of a society to connect with their past and when that connection is lacking, there is looting.

Lisa Kahn has worked in the creation of courses in Cultural Heritage Protection for civilian and military students and chairs an ongoing discussion on the role of education in CHAMP, the committee for Cultural Heritage Protection for AIA and the Military.


Short bibliography and/or website on lecture topic (for lay reader):

Matthew Bogdanos and William Patrick, Thieves of Baghdad, (Bloomsbury, New York and London, 2005)

Eds. Peter G. Stone and Joanne Farchakh Bajjaly, The Destruction of Cultural Heritage in Iraq,  (Boydell Press, Woodbridge and Rochester, 2008)

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