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March 5, 2011

"The 1970 Convention: Past and Future" Paris, UNESCO Headquarters, March 15 and 16, 2011

UNESCO/S. Delepierre
Catherine Schofield Sezgin, Editor

I have been invited to attend UNESCO's 40th commemoration on March 15 of the 1970 Convention which outlined UNESCO's fight against the Illicit trafficking of cultural property. One of the speakers has been featured prominently in the news recently: Dr. Zahi Hawass, Ministry of State for Antiquities of Egypt, who recently resigned his newly created post due to his professed inability to secure the museums and archaeological sites in Egypt over the past month.

In the morning, Dr. Hawass is scheduled to speak on a panel titled "Public Debate" moderated by Louis Laforge, Journalist, France télévisions with the following scheduled speakers: Irina Bokova, Director-General, UNESCO; Bernd Rossback, Director of Specialized Crimes and Analysis for Interpol; Alfonso de Maria y Campos, General Director, National Institute of Anthropology and History of Mexico; Stéphane Martin, President of Musée du Quai Branly; and Jane Levin, Worldwide Compliance Director and Senior-Vice President, Sotheby's.

In the afternoon, a seminar titled "The legal instruments employed for the fight against the illicit trafficking of cultural property", will be moderated by Francesco Bandarin, Assistant Director-General for Culture at UNESCO with these speakers: Marie Cornu, Research Director of CNRS, France; Lyndel V. Prott, Honorary Professor at the University of Queensland in Australia; Jose-Angelo Estrella Faria, Secretary General for UNIDROIT; Paolo Ferri, former prosecutor for the Republic of Italy and an international legal expert in cultural goods; Antonio Roma Valdés, Spanish prosecutor and expert in international cooperation and crimes against cultural heritage; and John Scanlon, Secretary-General of Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna.

The evening round table, "Illicit trafficking of archaeological objects", moderated by Jean-Frédéric Jauslin, director of the Federal Office of Culture in Switzerland, is scheduled to include these speakers: Maria Andreadaki-Vlazaki, General Director of Antiquities and Cultural Heritage of the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Tourism in Greece; Cecilia Bakula, former National Director of the National Institute of Culture and Ambassador of Peru; Petty Gerstenblith, Distinguished Research Professor of Law from De Paul University; Ridha Fraoua, Doctor of Law and expert in cultural heritage legislation; Sergio Mújica, Deputy Secretary General, World customs Organization; and Samuel Sidibe, Director of the National Museum of Mali.

You can read more about this commemoration here at the UNESCO website.