The protection of cultural property in the event of armed conflict - IIC AGM Talk 2016

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7.00 pm, Monday 25th January 2016, to be held at
The Linnean Society of London
Burlington House, Piccadilly, London W1J 0BF

Professor Peter Stone OBE, UNESCO Chair in Cultural Property Protection and Peace at Newcastle University , will be talking on the topic of The protection of cultural property in the event of armed conflict - a topic of great relevance at this moment in time. Professor Stone writes:

Cultural property always gets damaged and destroyed during conflict but such damage and destruction is frequently avoidable and has been seen as bad practice by military theorists for over 2,000 years.

The Allied Powers in the Second World War acknowledged the importance of protecting cultural property by creating the Monuments, Fine Arts and Archives Sub-Commission (MFAA) – recently the focus of the film ‘The Monuments Men’. Unfortunately, the MFAA team was largely broken up at the end of the war and, apart from the production of the 1954 Hague Convention on the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict and its two Protocols of 1954 and 1999, the military - and heritage community - essentially forgot the importance of trying to protect cultural property during conflict. It was only following the disastrous destruction and looting that followed the war in the former Yugoslavia and the 2003 invasion of Iraq that the issue returned to the agenda.

The Blue Shield organisation was created in 1996 in an attempt to raise the profile of cultural property protection. Since then it has worked with the military and other relevant organisations to flag the importance of this work. Progress has been slow but recently significant steps have been taken.

This Talk is open to all, not just members of IIC (the IIC AGM itself is reserved for members of IIC) so do please join us.

Professor Stone was, until recently, Head of School of Arts and Culture at Newcastle University (having been appointed in 1997) and was before that appointed as Director of the International Centre for Cultural and Heritage Studies (ICCHS) in the School of Arts and Cultures in 2001, and as Head of School in 2006. Peter teaches and researches in heritage management, interpretation and education. Between 1998 and 2008 he was Honorary Chief Executive Officer of the World Archaeological Congress. In 2003 he was archaeological advisor to the UK Ministry of Defence prior to the invasion of Iraq and is currently involved in research into the practicalities and ethics of cultural heritage experts working with the military. Peter was awarded an OBE in the 2011 Queen's Birthday Honours List for services to heritage education.

A location map for the Linnean Society can be found here.