USCBS Presents Awards for Outstanding Public Service

On March 8, 2017, Nancy C. Wilkie, President, U.S. Committee of the Blue Shield, presented the USCBS Outstanding Public Service Award for the Protection of Cultural Property to Representatives Eliot Engel and Ed Royce, who were instrumental in the passage of the Protect and Preserve International Cultural Property Act H.R. 1493/S. 1887.

Full text of the USCBS Awards

USCBS Participates in LCCHP 2017 Annual Conference

USCBS President Nancy Wilkie, Knox Thames, and Elizabeth Varner at the Lawyers’ Committee for Cultural Heritage Preservation 2017 Annual Conference

USCBS participated in the 2017 Annual Conference of the Lawyers’ Committee for Cultural Heritage Preservation, held at Georgetown University Law School, Washington, DC on March 10, 2017.  The focus of the conference was Cultural Heritage Law and Policy Updates for which USCBS organized a panel addressing the topic: US Committee of the Blue Shield and US Policy Perspectives on Cultural Heritage in Times of Armed Conflict.

Speakers included:

Nancy C. Wilkie, President, U.S. Committee of the Blue Shield; Member, Interim Board, Blue Shield (International), who provided an  update on recent Blue Shield activities, including the presentation of the USCBS Outstanding Public Service Award for the Protection of Cultural Property to Representatives Eliot Engel and Ed Royce, who were instrumental in the passage of the Protect and Preserve International Cultural Property Act H.R. 1493/S. 1887.

Full text of the USCBS Awards

 

Mark Iozzi, Democratic Counsel • House Committee on Foreign Affairs, on behalf of Representative Eliot EngelMark Iozzi, Democratic Counsel • House Committee on Foreign Affairs, on behalf of Representative Eliot Engel

Jessica Kelch, Policy Coordinator, Counsel at House Committee on Foreign Affairs, on behalf of Representative Ed Royce

Knox Thames, Special Advisor for Religious Minorities in the Near East and South/Central Asia; Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor; U.S. Department of State

Elizabeth Varner, Staff Curator, U.S. Department of the Interior, Interior Museum Program; Adjunct Professor, Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law; Board Member, Lawyers’ Committee for Cultural Heritage Preservation

 

US/ICOMOS and USCBS sign a Memorandum of Understanding

James Reap and Nancy Wilkie, President USCBS sign MOU between US/ICOMOS and USCBS

On March 11, 2017, In Washington D.C., the U.S. Committee of the Blue Shield (represented by Nancy Wilkie, President USCBS) and US/ICOMOS (represented by James Reap, Officer of US/ICOMOS and Board Member of USCBS) entered into a Memorandum of Understanding for the protection, preservation, and restoration of cultural sites, monuments and objects harmed during armed conflict and natural disasters.

As part of the agreement, both organizations pledge to work collaboratively to assist entities responsible for the protection of cultural sites, monuments and repositories in the case of armed conflict and natural disaster; to compile information concerning tangible cultural heritage located in conflict and disaster zones; and to carry out programs for training military personnel in the law of armed conflict as it pertains to the protection of tangible cultural heritage.

 

President Signs Engel Bill to Stop ISIS From Looting Antiquities

Breaking news.

New Law Cracks Down on Funding Source for ISIS While Protecting Syria’s Cultural Heritage

President Barack Obama signs H.R. 2751, the ÒFDA Food Safety Modernization Act,Ó in the Oval Office, Jan. 4, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza) This official White House photograph is being made available only for publication by news organizations and/or for personal use printing by the subject(s) of the photograph. The photograph may not be manipulated in any way and may not be used in commercial or political materials, advertisements, emails, products, promotions that in any way suggests approval or endorsement of the President, the First Family, or the White House.

May 9, 2016

Press Release

WASHINGTON—Representative Eliot L. Engel, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, today welcomed the President’s signature into law of Rep. Engel’s legislation to crack down on the sale of artifacts looted by ISIS from cultural sites in Syria.  The Protect and Preserve International Cultural Property Act would contribute to the comprehensive policy of degrading and destroying ISIS without risking American lives or costing American taxpayers.

The new law imposes tough new import restrictions on antiquities that are trafficked out of Syria, bringing U.S. policy in line with a UN Security Council Resolution that called on governments to deny funding to ISIS by preventing trade in Iraqi and Syrian cultural property.

“As part of America’s effort to degrade and destroy ISIS, we need to do all we can to cut off resources for this terrorist group.  Today, we’re putting a new tool to use.  My legislation will crack down on the trafficking of looted Syrian artifacts, which has put millions of dollars in the hands of ISIS extremists,” said Rep. Engel.  “This legislation has earned support from lawmakers of both parties and in both Houses, as well as numerous cultural heritage preservation groups.  I want to thank the President for signaling his support as well, and for signing this bill into law.”

Numerous outside groups and experts voiced their support for the Protect and Preserve International Cultural Property Act when it passed the House late last month.

Deborah Lehr, Chair of the Antiquities Coalition, said, “The passage of the Protect and Preserve International Cultural Property Act is a critical, bipartisan demonstration of American leadership. The looting of antiquities is a direct threat to American national security and to humanity’s shared heritage. By closing the U.S. market for blood antiquities from Syria, the United States is cutting off a key source of terrorist financing. We applaud Representatives Engel, Keating, Royce, and Smith, as well as the entire House and Senate, along with the many individual citizens and groups whose hard work and dedication made the passage of this bill possible. We look forward to working together with them all to ensure its implementation.”

Brian I. Daniels, Director of Research at the Penn Cultural Heritage Center, University of Pennsylvania Museum, said, “The protection of human history is a non-partisan issue. Representative Engel has demonstrated great leadership in working with Chairman Royce and other members of the House and Senate in authoring a bipartisan bill that makes a difference in the preservation of cultural heritage.  H.R. 1493 ends the incentive for ISIS to loot antiquities by making it clear that there is no legal market for the artifacts stolen from Syria during the present conflict. But this bill goes even further by encouraging Federal agencies to work together on preserving human history—and holding them accountable to do just that. In recent years, we have watched how terror groups have conspired to erase the history of ethnic and religious groups that they oppose. This bill is insurance that does not happen.”

Patty Gerstenblith, Distinguished Research Professor at the DePaul University College of Law, said, “With this legislation, the United States has taken a significant step toward reducing the destruction of cultural heritage in the Syrian conflict and preventing the sale of looted antiquities from providing income to ISIL and others engaged in the conflict. The 15 cultural heritage organizations that supported this legislation thank Congressman Engel for his leadership in providing a practical response to the funding of terrorism.”

(Dr. Gerstenblith is a USCBS Board Member)

On June 1, 2015, Representative Engel’s legislation unanimously passed the House.  The Senate approved a slightly modified version of the legislation on April 13, which the House passed by voice vote on April 26.

The law imposes new import restrictions on cultural artifacts removed from Syria. Similar restrictions were enacted in 2004 with respect to Iraqi antiquities.  The law provides exceptions to allow artifacts to enter the United States for temporary protection and restoration.  Restrictions will remain in effect until the crisis in Syria is resolved and America is able to work with a future Syrian government to protect cultural property from trafficking under a bilateral agreement, in accordance with America’s national interests.

Additionally, the law expresses support for a new interagency coordinating body to enhance cooperation among the government agencies, including the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security, already working on cultural preservation issues.  It also takes steps to enhance Congressional oversight of this issue.

Representative Engel introduced the Protect and Preserve International Cultural Property Act along with Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs; Rep. William R. Keating (D-MA), Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade; and Rep. Christopher H. Smith (R-NJ), Chair of the Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations.

See original post here »

Full text of the bill as amended and passed »

USCBS Board Member Testifies in The House

gerstenblith_pattySecretary of U.S. Committee of the Blue Shield, Patty Gerstenblith, testifies before the U.S. House Financial Services Committee’s Task
Force to Investigate Terrorism Financing

 

 


Testimony of Dr. Patty Gerstenblith
On Behalf of Herself and the U.S. Committee of the Blue Shield

“Preventing Cultural Genocide: Countering the Plunder and Sale of Priceless Cultural Antiquities by ISIS”

Task Force to Investigate Terrorism Financing U.S. House Financial Services Committee
April 19, 2016

Chairman Fitzpatrick and Ranking Member Lynch: Thank you for the opportunity to present this testimony and to address the Members of the Task Force to Investigate Terrorism Financing on the subject of “Preventing Cultural Genocide: Countering the Plunder and Sale of Priceless Cultural Antiquities by ISIS”. I am submitting this testimony both in my personal capacity1 and on behalf of the United States Committee of the Blue Shield (USCBS).2 The United States Committee of the Blue Shield was formed in 2006. The name, Blue Shield, comes from the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, which specifies a blue shield as the symbol for marking protected cultural property and is the cultural equivalent of the Red Cross. Among the current activities of the USCBS is the creation of “no-strike” lists or inventories of cultural sites (including historic and religious structures, archaeological sites and repositories such as museums, archives and libraries) in parts of the world where the United States is engaged in armed conflict. Through working with the Department of Defense, USCBS helps the United States fulfill its obligations to protect cultural heritage during armed conflict.

See her full testimony here »

 

HR 1493 passed by the Senate as amended by the Senate

On April 13th, the United States Senate passed the antiquities bill, HR 1493 as amended by the Senate.

See full text … BILLS-114hr1493eas

To protect and preserve international cultural property at risk due to 
 political instability, armed conflict, or natural or other disasters, 
and for other purposes.

The U.S. Committee of the Blue Shield is mentioned as a consulting organization.

BILL TO HALT ISIS ANTIQUITIES LOOTING ADVANCES IN SENATE

Engel Legislation Would Crack Down on Terrorist Financing, Protect Syria’s Fragile History

WASHINGTON—Representative Eliot L. Engel, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, today welcomed approval of his legislation, the Protect and Preserve International Cultural Property Act (H.R.1493), by the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.  Representative Engel’s bill would help curb funding for ISIS by cracking down on the trafficking of artifacts looted from cultural sites in Syria.

“ISIS is pocketing millions of dollars by trafficking irreplaceable artifacts on the black market.  Whatever they can’t loot, they’re destroying in an effort to wipe away history,” said Rep. Engel. “My legislation would make it harder for ISIS to peddle looted antiquities as a funding source, and I applaud my Senate colleagues on the Foreign Relations Committee for moving this measure forward.  Today’s action is a great example of what we can accomplish when we put our heads together and work in a bipartisan way to advance American interests abroad.”

Representative Engel’s legislation unanimously passed the House on June 1, 2015. The bill would impose new import restrictions on cultural artifacts removed from Syria. Similar restrictions were enacted in 2004 with respect to Iraqi antiquities. The legislation would provide exceptions to allow artifacts to enter the United States for protection and restoration. Restrictions would remain in effect until the crisis in Syria is resolved and America is able to work with a future Syrian government to protect cultural property from trafficking under a bilateral agreement, in accordance with America’s national interests.

The bill also calls on the President to establish a new interagency body to enhance cooperation among the government agencies already working on cultural preservation and improves Congressional oversight of this issue.

The bill has the support of the Society for American Archaeology, the American Alliance of Museums, the Getty Trust Syrian American Council, the American Anthropological Association, the American Schools of Oriental Research, the Antiquities Coalition, the Archaeological Institute of America, the International Council of Museums, the Association of Art Museum Directors, the Lawyers’ Committee for Cultural Heritage Preservation, Preservation Action, the Society for Historical Archaeology, the U.S. Committee of the Blue Shield, the U.S. National Committee of the International Council on Monuments and Sites, and others.

 

Grassley praised committee passage of HR 1493 bill

New Committee Passes Bill Restricting ISIS’ Ability to Profit from Antiquities Sales

politicalnews.me Jan 29, 2016 – Committee Passes Bill Restricting ISIS’ Ability to Profit from Antiquities Sales

WASHINGTON – Sen. Chuck Grassley praised unanimous committee passage of a bill substantially similar to a bill he co-sponsored to restrict the ability of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) to profit from the sale of looted antiquities.

“We need to destroy ISIS rather than support its funding,” Grassley said. “This bill will help by restricting the import of items to the United States. It’s a small but important step in hampering the ability of ISIS terrorists to profit from the sale of looted antiquities.”

The Committee on Foreign Relations passed a measure that gives the federal government the authority to impose import restrictions on Syrian antiquities, waiving the provisions of current law that require a request from the country of origin. The bill is similar to the Protect and Preserve International Cultural Property Act that Grassley and Sens. Bob Casey and David Perdue introduced last year. The committee-passed bill is based on a partner bill passed by the House of Representatives.

Grassley’s statement submitted to the committee record follows here.


Statement of Senator Charles E. Grassley
Protect and Preserve International Cultural Property Act
Business Meeting of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations
January 28, 2016

Chairman Corker, Ranking Member Cardin, Members of the Committee:

I’d like to thank this Committee for taking up the “Protect and Preserve International Cultural Property Act.” This bill is critically important to ensure that the Administration has the authority to impose import restrictions on antiquities from Syria, which is a key source of funding for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

I joined Senator Casey and Senator Perdue to introduce a Senate companion to the House bill that would place trade restrictions against the importation of looted archeological and ethnological materials. It’s a similar measure to one that I won enactment of in 2003 when Iraq’s antiquities were being looted.

The brutal and barbaric acts carried out by ISIS are beyond comprehension. The senseless and inhumane brutality these individuals carried out against innocents is truly shocking and disgraceful. ISIS has executed thousands, including women and children. Many more have been kidnapped, enslaved, abused and raped.

ISIS is also destroying and selling the archeological heritage that has survived for thousands of years. It’s reprehensible that there are people engaged in a black market to buy these artifacts, thereby underwriting this brutal Islamist militant group.

The chaos and disorder in Syria and Iraq have opened the door to opportunists who wish to enrich themselves in dealing with stolen and looted antiquities. The least we can do, here in Congress, is shut down the U.S. market for these artifacts. Americans should not be underwriting brutality.

We need to put an end to the destruction and looting of irreplaceable artifacts and historical records like those from the Mosul Museum, Nineveh, and Nimrud. These objects are a material record of humanity.

We need to destroy ISIS rather than support its funding. This bill will help by restricting the import of items to the United States. It’s a small but important step in hampering the ability of ISIS terrorists to profit from the sale of looted antiquities.

I strongly support this bill and encourage members of this committee to support it as well. Thank you.

Antiquities Bill HR 1493 passed by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee

H.R. 1493 Substitute Amendment, the Protect and Preserve International Cultural Property Act, was passed by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on January 28th.

It now moves to the floor of the Senate and the House for consideration.

View Amended text as PDF »

The U.S. Committee of the Blue Shield is mentioned as a consulting organization.

Background:  The Protect and Preserve International Cultural Property Act was reintroduced on March 19, 2015 by Congressman Eliot Engel as H.R. 1493. The goal of this legislation is to protect and preserve international cultural property at risk due to political instability, armed conflict, or natural or other disasters, and for other purposes.

 


Amended text of HR 1493 as it passed
the Senate Foreign Relations Committee

January 28, 2016

 


MRW16052 S.L.C.

AMENDMENT NO.llll Calendar No.lll

Purpose: In the nature of a substitute.

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES—114th Cong., 2d Sess.

H. R. 1493

To protect and preserve international cultural property at

risk due to political instability, armed conflict, or natural

or other disasters, and for other purposes.

Referred to the Committee on llllllllll and

ordered to be printed

Ordered to lie on the table and to be printed

AMENDMENT IN THE NATURE OF A SUBSTITUTE intended

to be proposed by lllllll

Viz:

1 Strike all after the enacting clause and insert the fol2

lowing:

3 SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

4 This Act may be cited as the ‘‘Protect and Preserve

5 International Cultural Property Act’’.

6 SEC. 2. SENSE OF CONGRESS.

7 It is the sense of Congress that the President should

8 establish an interagency coordinating committee to coordi9

nate and advance the efforts of the executive branch to

10 protect and preserve international cultural property at risk

2

MRW16052 S.L.C.

1 from political instability, armed conflict, or natural or

2 other disasters. Such committee should—

3 (1) be chaired by a Department of State em4

ployee of Assistant Secretary rank or higher, concur5

rent with that employee’s other duties;

6 (2) include representatives of the Smithsonian

7 Institution and Federal agencies with responsibility

8 for the preservation and protection of international

9 cultural property;

10 (3) consult with governmental and nongovern11

mental organizations, including the United States

12 Committee of the Blue Shield, museums, educational

13 institutions, and research institutions on efforts to

14 protect and preserve international cultural property;

15 (4) coordinate and advance core United States

16 interests in—

17 (A) protecting and preserving international

18 cultural property;

19 (B) preventing and disrupting looting and

20 illegal trade and trafficking in international cul21

tural property, particularly exchanges that pro22

vide revenue to terrorist and criminal organiza23

tions;

24 (C) protecting sites of cultural and archae25

ological significance; and

3

MRW16052 S.L.C.

1 (D) providing for the lawful exchange of

2 international cultural property.

3 SEC. 3. EMERGENCY PROTECTION FOR SYRIAN CULTURAL

4 PROPERTY.

5 (a) IN GENERAL.—The President shall exercise the

6 authority of the President under section 304 of the Con7

vention on Cultural Property Implementation Act (19

8 U.S.C. 2603) to impose import restrictions set forth in

9 section 307 of that Act (19 U.S.C. 2606) with respect to

10 any archaeological or ethnological material of Syria—

11 (1) not later than 90 days after the date of the

12 enactment of this Act;

13 (2) without regard to whether Syria is a State

14 Party (as defined in section 302 of that Act (19

15 U.S.C. 2601)); and

16 (3) notwithstanding—

17 (A) the requirement of subsection (b) of

18 section 304 of that Act (19 U.S.C. 2603(b))

19 that an emergency condition (as defined in sub20

section (a) of that section) applies; and

21 (B) the limitations under subsection (c) of

22 that section.

23 (b) ANNUAL DETERMINATION REGARDING CERTIFI24

CATION.—

25 (1) DETERMINATION.—

4

MRW16052 S.L.C.

1 (A) IN GENERAL.—The President shall,

2 not less often than annually, determine whether

3 at least 1 of the conditions specified in subpara4

graph (B) is met, and shall notify the appro5

priate congressional committees of such deter6

mination.

7 (B) CONDITIONS.—The conditions referred

8 to in subparagraph (A) are the following:

9 (i) The Government of Syria is in10

capable, at the time a determination under

11 such subparagraph is made, of fulfilling

12 the requirements to request an agreement

13 under section 303 of the Convention on

14 Cultural Property Implementation Act (19

15 U.S.C. 2602).

16 (ii) It would be against the United

17 States national interest to enter into such

18 an agreement.

19 (2) TERMINATION OF RESTRICTIONS.—

20 (A) IN GENERAL.—Except as provided in

21 subparagraph (B), the import restrictions re22

ferred to in subsection (a) shall terminate on

23 the date that is 5 years after the date on which

24 the President determines that neither of the

5

MRW16052 S.L.C.

1 conditions specified in paragraph (1)(B) are

2 met.

3 (B) REQUEST FOR TERMINATION.—If

4 Syria requests to enter into an agreement with

5 the United States pursuant to section 303 of

6 the Convention on Cultural Property Implemen7

tation Act (19 U.S.C. 2602) on or after the

8 date on which the President determines that

9 neither of the conditions specified in paragraph

10 (1)(B) are met, the import restrictions referred

11 to in subsection (a) shall terminate on the ear12

lier of—

13 (i) the date that is 3 years after the

14 date on which Syria makes such a request;

15 or

16 (ii) the date on which the United

17 States and Syria enter into such an agree18

ment.

19 (c) WAIVER.—

20 (1) IN GENERAL.—The President may waive

21 the import restrictions referred to in subsection (a)

22 for specified archaeological and ethnological material

23 of Syria if the President certifies to the appropriate

24 congressional committees that the conditions de25

scribed in paragraph (2) are met.

6

MRW16052 S.L.C.

1 (2) CONDITIONS.—The conditions referred to in

2 paragraph (1) are the following:

3 (A)(i) The owner or lawful custodian of the

4 specified archaeological or ethnological material

5 of Syria has requested that such material be

6 temporarily located in the United States for

7 protection purposes; or

8 (ii) if no owner or lawful custodian can

9 reasonably be identified, the President deter10

mines that, for purposes of protecting and pre11

serving such material, the material should be

12 temporarily located in the United States.

13 (B) Such material shall be returned to the

14 owner or lawful custodian when requested by

15 such owner or lawful custodian.

16 (C) There is no credible evidence that

17 granting a waiver under this subsection will

18 contribute to illegal trafficking in archaeological

19 or ethnological material of Syria or financing of

20 criminal or terrorist activities.

21 (3) ACTION.—If the President grants a waiver

22 under this subsection, the specified archaeological or

23 ethnological material of Syria that is the subject of

24 such waiver shall be placed in the temporary custody

25 of the United States Government or in the tem7

MRW16052 S.L.C.

1 porary custody of a cultural or educational institu2

tion within the United States for the purpose of pro3

tection, restoration, conservation, study, or exhi4

bition, without profit.

5 (4) IMMUNITY FROM SEIZURE.—Any archae6

ological or ethnological material that enters the

7 United States pursuant to a waiver granted under

8 this section shall have immunity from seizure under

9 Public Law 89–259 (22 U.S.C. 2459). All provisions

10 of Public Law 89–259 shall apply to such material

11 as if immunity from seizure had been granted under

12 that Public Law.

13 (d) DEFINITIONS.—In this section:

14 (1) APPROPRIATE CONGRESSIONAL COMMIT15

TEES.—The term ‘‘appropriate congressional com16

mittees’’ means—

17 (A) the Committee on Foreign Relations

18 and the Committee on Finance of the Senate;

19 and

20 (B) the Committee on Foreign Affairs and

21 the Committee on Ways and Means of the

22 House of Representatives.

23 (2) ARCHAEOLOGICAL OR ETHNOLOGICAL MA24

TERIAL OF SYRIA.—The term ‘‘archaeological or eth25

nological material of Syria’’ means cultural property

8

MRW16052 S.L.C.

1 (as defined in section 302 of the Convention on Cul2

tural Property Implementation Act (19 U.S.C.

3 2601)) that is unlawfully removed from Syria on or

4 after March 15, 2011.

5 SEC. 4. REPORT.

6 Not later than 1 year after the date of the enactment

7 of this Act, and annually thereafter for the next 6 years,

8 the President shall submit to the appropriate congres9

sional committees a report on the efforts of the executive

10 branch, during the 12-month period preceding the submis11

sion of the report, to protect and preserve international

12 cultural property, including—

13 (1) whether an interagency coordinating com14

mittee as described in section 2 has been established

15 and, if such a committee has been established, a de16

scription of the activities undertaken by such com17

mittee, including a list of the entities participating

18 in such activities;

19 (2) a description of measures undertaken pur20

suant to relevant statutes, including—

21 (A) actions to implement and enforce sec22

tion 3 of this Act and section 3002 of the

23 Emergency Protection for Iraqi Cultural Antiq24

uities Act of 2004 (Public Law 108–429; 118

25 Stat. 2599), including measures to dismantle

9

MRW16052 S.L.C.

1 international networks that traffic illegally in

2 cultural property;

3 (B) a description of any requests for a

4 waiver under section 3(c) of this Act and, for

5 each such request, whether a waiver was grant6

ed;

7 (C) a list of the statutes and regulations

8 employed in criminal, civil, and civil forfeiture

9 actions to prevent illegal trade and trafficking

10 in cultural property; and

11 (D) actions undertaken to ensure the con12

sistent and effective application of law in cases

13 relating to illegal trade and trafficking in cul14

tural property; and

15 (3) actions undertaken in fulfillment of inter16

national agreements on cultural property protection,

17 including the Convention for the Protection of Cul18

tural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, done

19 at The Hague May 14, 1954.

2016 USCBS Annual Membership Campaign

The Blue Shield is the internationally recognized symbol used to mark protected cultural property during war and armed conflict. US Committee of the Blue Shield is the only organization that unites members from all cultural property professions and disciplines, cultural heritage institutions, government agencies, emergency services, and the armed forces to address critical issues in cultural property protection for our nation.

We can’t do it without you! Join now! »

The success of the USCBS depends on the support of our membership. Only with memberships and donations can the USCBS continue to advocate for the protection of heritage collections in:

  • museums, libraries, and archives
  • monuments and works of art
  • houses of worship
  • archaeological sites, and
  • historic architecture.

Recent USCBS accomplishments include:

  • Military conflicts in Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Ukraine—along with recent terrorist activities in Lebanon, Egypt and France—have taxed the world’s ability to protect the world’s citizens and our shared cultural heritage. The U.S. Committee of the Blue Shield remains committed to working with our military to ensure that their activities both at home and abroad protect, rather than damage or destroy, cultural property.
  • We continue to prepare inventories of cultural heritage at risk, supported in part by a recent grant from the J.M. Kaplan Fund dedicated solely to this endeavor. We also have taken responsibility for the archiving of these lists so that they will be readily available when needed by our military and their allies.
  • On the legislative front, we have worked tirelessly for the passage of the Protect and Preserve International Cultural Property Act. This act passed in the House in early June and was introduced in the Senate (as S. 1887) in late summer with the co-sponsorship of Senators Casey (D-PA), Perdue (R-GA) and Grassley (R-IA). Among the provisions of the bill is assistance to countries that are the principal sources of trafficked cultural property for protection of their cultural heritage sites and prevention of looting and theft of their cultural property. The bill also directs the President to apply specified import restrictions with respect to any archaeological or ethnological material of Syria, as if Syria were a State Party to the 1970 UNESCO Convention on Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export, and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property.
  • Documenting cultural heritage at risk during armed conflicts in Syria, Iraq, Mali, and Egypt, as well as other regions where there is U.S. military presence.
  • Coordinating Do Not Target Lists in the Middle East for the U.S. military and our allies.
  • Partnering with other cultural heritage organizations to provide cultural heritage training for U.S. military forces prior to deployment.
  • Entering into a Memorandum of Understanding with the Smithsonian Institution in order to pursue common interests in the protection of cultural property in the U.S. and abroad.

To current and past members, thank you for supporting USCBS and your commitment to the protection of our shared heritage in collections and sites throughout the world. To future members, we look forward to your joining us in our mission!

By joining or renewing your membership today, you will continue to be a part of our effort to protect the world’s cultural heritage from destruction and theft.

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