April 13, 2012

Kenya's Dr. George H. O. Abungu Wins 2012 ARCA Award for Lifetime Achievement in Defense of Art

ARCA (the Association for Research into Crimes against Art) is pleased to announce the winners of its annual awards for the year 2012. ARCA is an international research group that promotes the study of art crime cultural heritage protection, registered as a 501c3 in the United States and an Associazione Culturale in Italy.

ARCA presents four annual awards.  Nominations are made by ARCA staff, trustees, and members of the editorial board of ARCA’s peer-reviewed publication, The Journal of Art Crime.  The winners are decided by a vote of the trustees, and are presented at ARCA’s annual conference, held in Amelia, Italy on June 23 and 24 of this year. For more information about ARCA or to attend its annual conference, please contact Lynda Albertson: lynda.albertson (at) artcrimeresearch.org.

ARCA Award for Lifetime Achievement in Defense of Art
Past winners: Carabinieri TPC (2009), Howard Spiegler (2010), John Merryman (2011)
Shortlisted nominees: Matthew Bogdanos, Mark Dalrymple, Maurizio Seracini, Sandy Nairne
2012 winner: George H. O. Abungu

Dr. Abungu, a native of Kenya, has served as Chairman of the International Standing Committee on the Traffic of Illicit Antiquities since 1999, and as Director-General of the National Museums of Kenya from 1999-2002.  Among his many projects, he was involved in the return to Kenya of looted Vigango (grave markers).

Dr. Abungu has over 60 publications in the disciplines of archaeology, heritage management, and museology, culture and development and has championed the role of the arts and its respect and protection in many of his publications, public forums and in his works as a museum professional, scholar and administrator.

He has been an advisor to the Aluka project of the Mellon Foundation, the Global Heritage Fund, and is Vice President of International Council of Museums (ICOM), a Member of the International Jury of the UNESCO Melina Mecouri International Prize for Safeguard and Management of Cultural Landscapes and Board member for TARA, the Trust for African Rock Art, among others. He has sat on the World Monuments Watch panel and was Kenya’s Representative to the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, and Vice-President of its Bureau (2004-2009).

He is awarded for his long-term efforts to secure the cultural heritage of Kenya and other African nations.


  1. Cngratulations to Dr Abungu for this achievement which in my view has been long overdue. Dr Abungu has dedicated all his life to the promotion of culture, art and community service. His knowledge in the field of museology and Heritage is unmarched and the many publications and public forums he has contributed in are immense.
    This award is timely and once more congratulations to Dr Abungu.

  2. Félicitations ! Le Dr Abungu - il est toujours bon de comprendre quelqu'un pour faire quelque chose d'extraordinaire !