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Heritage Warfare Consortium

Great News, yesterday 14th Nov 2023 saw the launch of the Heritage Warfare Consortium, an inspiring multidisciplinary initiative which is a product of a recent memorandum signed by Arizona State University (ASU), Penn Global and the University of Copenhagen. Last night, the Consortium set out its goal to "advise governments, militaries and international organizations on the increasing importance of cultural heritage in conflict and to assist in establishing accountability for the destruction of cultural heritage as a tool of conflict and to assist leaders in establishing guidelines accountability for the destruction of cultural heritage".

The Consortium aims to meet its goal by collaborating with "anthropologists, political scientists, military experts and international lawyers", I can imagine there will be many more professionals from other disciplines interested in partnership. The launch was subtle and engaging. The lead experts (see below) and main catalysts were, Andrea Matacic Cayley JD.PhD, Lynn Meskell PhD, and Fredrik Rosen PhD. They were excellent and revealed an impressive depth of experience, knowledge and character. They make for an impressive, fresh and inspirational foundation from which to build. I am still happily digesting last night's launch presentations, and contemplating the ideas of heritage mindset, security strategies, Euro-Atlantic approaches, contrasting Russian attituded to heritage, cultural property and post-conflict dynamics, and the technocratic conditions to cultural assumptions whilst attending another related online event ( 'Reporting Heritage Destruction: A Double-Edged Sword?' ) delivered by ECHGS HUB / Oxford University.

I look forward to the Consortium’s much-needed participation ….

Andrea Matačić Cayley, J.D. Ph.D., the executive director of the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, has 20 years’ experience working as a war crimes prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts Cambodia. She worked with UNESCO to prepare the indictment and prosecution of the most significant case of cultural property destruction in Yugoslavia (Prosecutor v. Pavle Strugar IT-01-42-A) and worked on the prosecution of numerous Bosnian cases where the destruction of Bosnian Muslim heritage was found to be a crime against humanity. She has advised on universal jurisdiction cases brought against Liberian as well as Syrian and Ukrainian war criminals. She has been part of the NATO cultural property advisory since 2016 and is a coordinator of the Atrocity Crimes Advisory group for Ukraine.

Lynn Meskell, Ph.D., is Penn Integrates Knowledge (PIK) Professor at the University of Pennsylvania, Richard D. Green Professor of Anthropology in the School of Arts & Sciences, professor in the Department of Historic Preservation in the Weitzman School of Design, and curator in the Middle East and Asia sections at the Penn Museum. She is currently A.D. White Professor-at-Large at Cornell University (2019–2025). She holds Honorary Professorships at Oxford University and Liverpool University in the U.K., Shiv Nadar University, India, and the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa. Dr. Meskell has conducted an institutional ethnography of UNESCO World Heritage. She has conducted a largescale survey project in Syria and Iraq to assess public opinion on heritage destruction and reconstruction. Other fieldwork explores monumental regimes of research and preservation around World Heritage sites in India and how diverse actors and agencies address the needs of living communities. She is the author of A Future in Ruins: UNESCO, World Heritage, and the Dream of Peace (2018, OUP New York).

Fredrik Rosen, Ph.D. is the director of the Nordic Center for Cultural Heritage and Armed Conflict in Copenhagen, Denmark. For more than a decade, he has been a key advisor to governments and international organizations on cultural property protection in relation to armed conflicts. He is the author of Collateral Damage: A Candid History of a Peculiar Form of Death and the co-author of The Preservation of Art and Culture in Times of War. His research interests include cultural heritage, crisis, and disaster management, and the ethics of war. He has published extensively on international law and security. His prior positions include associate professor in the law faculty at the University of Copenhagen and senior researcher at the Danish Institute for International Studies.


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