Category Archives: Events

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


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.

Payment Methods

Pay for your membership online with PayPal, credit card or bank account: Payments are processed using PayPal. Paypal is a secure, low-cost method for USCBS to accept online memberships and donations. You don’t need a PayPal account, but if you do have an existing account, you will be prompted to log in. If you don’t wish to use your PayPal account, just follow the appropriate prompts to pay by credit card or bank account.

Select Membership Type

Even if you are already a member, you may also choose to donate any amount to USCBS.

Pay for your membership by Check: If you choose to pay by check, you may download, complete and mail our USCBS Membership Form along with your check.

Congressional Medal of Honor awarded to Monuments Men

Harry Ettlinger (keynote speaker at the USCBS Annual Meeting last year) accepts the Congressional Medal of Honor on behalf of the original Monuments Men.
Details in article below.

“Monuments Men” receive monumental honor from Congress

House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, left, presents the Congressional Gold Medal to Monuments Men Harry Ettlinger, Richard Barancik, Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015, during a ceremony in Emancipation Hall on Capitol Hill in Washington. From left are, Boehner, Ettlinger, Barancik, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., and Motoko Fujishiro Huthwaite. The award is Congress’ highest honor of appreciation for distinguished achievement. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Harry Ettlinger was one of those honored as one of the art experts turned military officers who rescued treasures looted by the Nazis, nicknamed the Monuments Men.

The 89-year-old discovered a Rembrandt self-portrait that had been stashed away in a German salt mine.

“I was in charge of what was going on down there. I said let’s open the box,” said Ettlinger.

Before the war, the masterpiece had hung in a museum in Ettlinger’s hometown. But because he was Jewish, he was never allowed to visit it. He and his family fled Nazi Germany for the United States.

Now, thanks to Ettlinger, the painting is back in its hometown.


Harry Ettlinger poses next to a photo of the Rembrandt self-portrait he discovered


“For me to go into that particular museum and take a look at it and get a photograph of it, that made me feel good,” said Ettlinger. “It made me feel good in my heart.”

The 2014 film “The Monuments Men” brought new attention to the real Monuments Men. It was based on a book by Robert Edsell.

“The story from my point of view was: who were these men and women?” said Edsell.

One of those women is Motoko Huthwaite. She worked for Lieutenant Commander George Stout, played in the movie by George Clooney.

Huthwaite was a typist. Until last month, she didn’t realize the field reports she worked on related to the famous group.

“I was absolutely flabbergasted,” said Huthwaite.

The foundation set up to honor the Monuments Men has run out of money, so Thursday’s ceremony was bittersweet.

“It’s the realization of a dream I held so closely. We struggled to get to this moment,” said Edsell.

Preservers of the past, awarded a monumental honor.

Looted Iraqi Museum in Baghdad reopens 12 years on

BBC News – Middle East
28 February 2015 Last updated at 08:24 ET

Iraq’s national museum has officially reopened in Baghdad, 12 years after it was closed in the aftermath of the US-led invasion. Many of the antiquities looted during the war have now been recovered and restored.

The museum’s opening was brought forward in response to an Islamic State (IS) video showing statues being destroyed in Mosul.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has vowed to punish those responsible.

“Those barbaric, criminal terrorists are trying to destroy the heritage of mankind and Iraq’s civilization,” Mr Abadi said while attending the museum’s opening.

“We will chase them in order to make them pay for every drop of blood shed in Iraq and for the destruction of Iraq’s civilization.”

A man looks at ancient Assyrian human-headed winged bull statues at the Iraqi National Museum in Baghdad
Some of the museum’s items were impossible to loot during the Iraq war
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi (C) attends the reopening ceremony of Iraq's national museum on February 28, 2015
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi officially opened the museum
A statue dating back to the 8th Century BC is displayed at the entrance of Iraq's national museum during its official reopening on February 28, 2015
This piece dates to the 8th Century BC – others in the museum are far older
An ancient artefact on display at the Iraqi Museum
The Mesopotamians developed writing long before other civilizations
Artefacts coming from the Mosul area on display at the Iraqi Museum
About 15,000 pieces were looted during the Iraq war, with one-third recovered


The world heritage body Unesco has called for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council to discuss how to protect Iraq’s cultural heritage.

The Iraqi Deputy Tourism and Antiquities Minister, Qais Hussein Rashid, told AFP the actions of IS had spurred them into opening.

“The events in Mosul led us to speed up our work and we wanted to open it today as a response to what the gangs of Daesh did,” he said, using an Arabic acronym for IS.

The Iraq Museum estimates that some 15,000 items were taken in the chaos that followed the toppling of Saddam Hussein. Almost one-third have been recovered.

The collection covers 7,000 years of history, with Mesopotamia – as Iraq was called for much of human history – considered the cradle of civilization.

Modern reality in Iraq is more violent. The areas in and around Baghdad continue to see daily violence, with at least 25 people killed in two separate attacks north of the capital on Saturday.


New Memorandum of Understanding between USCBS and the Archaeological Institute of America (AIA)

Nancy Wilkie, President of the U.S. Committee of the Blue Shield, and Andrew Moore, President of the Archaeological Institute of America, President of the Archaeological Institute of America

Nancy Wilkie, President of the U.S. Committee of the Blue Shield, and Andrew Moore, President of the Archaeological Institute of America


On January 8, 2015 Nancy Wilkie, President of the U.S. Committee of the Blue Shield, and Andrew Moore, President of the Archaeological Institute of America signed an MOU linking the two organizations in their efforts to protect and preserve cultural sites, monuments and objects from harm during armed conflict. The MOU was signed during a meeting of the AIA Governing Board during its Annual Meeting in New Orleans.

Among the terms of the MOU are an agreement on the part of both organizations 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 carry out programs for training military personnel in the law of armed conflict as it pertains to the protection of tangible cultural heritage; and to compile information concerning tangible cultural heritage located in conflict and disaster zones.

September 2014 USCBS Annual Meeting

The 2014 Annual Meeting of the U.S. Committee of the Blue Shield – celebrating the 60th anniversary of the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict – was held in conjunction with the Smithsonian Institution on September 19, at the Hirshhorn Museum.

Harry Ettlinger, a member of the U.S. Army’s Monuments, Fine Arts and Archives section of the Civil Affairs Division during WW II, presented the opening keynote address. Other highlights of the meeting included an address by Irina Bokova, Director General, UNESCO; the presentation of the first USCBS Award for Meritorious Military Service in Protection of Cultural Property to Brigadier General Erik Peterson, Commanding General US Army Special Operations Aviation Command; and the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Smithsonian Institution and the US Committee of the Blue Shield.

Address of Richard Kurin, Under Secretary of History, Art and Culture


Photo: Michael R. Barnes

Good afternoon, I’d like to welcome all of you on behalf of the Smithsonian Institution and the

Hirshhorn Museum. We have a number of distinguished speakers with us today, including the board and membership of the U.S. Committee of the Blue Shield, a number of cultural heritage colleagues from the U.S. government and the nonprofit sector, and representatives from the media. We are also very fortunate today to have with us Irina Bokova, Director General of UNESCO.

I’d like to give an especially warm welcome to our keynote speaker, World War II veteran Harry Ettlinger. Harry was a member of the U.S. military’s Monuments, Fine Arts and Archives teams, better known as the Monuments Men. It is very appropriate we have this meeting at the Hirshhorn as our current special exhibition Salvatore Scarpitta: Traveler features the work of another Monuments Man. A young Italian-American, Scarpitta had returned to Italy to attend art school and was imprisoned by the Fascist government. He escaped, joined the partisans, and later the U.S. Navy. Because of his classical art training and language skills, he was recruited into the Monuments Men and helped with the recovery of artworks in Italy until his discharge in 1946. I hope you will have time to see the Hirshhorn’s exhibition of Scarpitta’s work and learn about how his wartime experiences helped shape his art.

We’re gathered today to mark the 60th anniversary of the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict. Though it was drafted to address the destruction of heritage in World War II, the principles outlined in this historic treaty have never been more important than they are today. Just as it did in the formation of the Monuments Men, the Smithsonian and the U.S. museum community have an important role to play. For our part, the Smithsonian hosts training for U.S. military and U.S. Customs Enforcement personnel, provides emergency assistance for domestic and international institutions impacted by disasters, and partners in original research to discover better ways to prevent damage to heritage in natural and manmade disasters.

In recognition of the goals we share, we look forward to signing a memorandum of understanding between the Smithsonian and the U.S. Committee of the Blue Shield acknowledging our mutual goal of engaging the wider cultural heritage community in protecting our shared cultural heritage.

We’re very pleased to sign this MOU with the U.S. Committee of the Blue Shield. We began our relationship on the Haiti Cultural Recovery Project in 2010 and have continued to work together to organize training for the U.S. military to help meet our obligations under the 1954 Hague Convention.  As the Smithsonian affirms its commitment to protect cultural heritage in crisis situations, this MOU with the Blue Shield is a vital public private partnership and we look forward to working with them in the future.


Keynote Speaker Harry Ettlinger


Smithsonian Institute / U.S. Committee of the Blue Shield Annual Meeting 2014

Photo: Michael R. Barnes

Harry Ettlinger, a member of the U.S. Army’s Monuments, Fine Arts and Archives section of the Civil Affairs Division during WW II, presented the opening keynote address. He is one of the last remaining members of the Anglo-American Monuments, Fine Arts and Archives section that rescued thousands of works of art and other cultural treasures stolen by the Nazis during World War II. Born in Karlsruhe, Germany, Ettlinger fled to the U.S. in 1938 along with the rest of his family. He returned to Europe in 1945 as a private in the U.S. Army. His fluency in German soon led to his transfer to the Monuments, Fine Arts and Archives section and supervision of operations for the return of seventy-three cases containing stained glassbelonging to Strasbourg Cathedral stored at the Heilbronn-Kochendorf salt mines. In addition to the art objects stored in the mines, Ettlinger found firecrackers, which the Nazis planned to set off when Hitler won the war. Before he left Germany Ettlinger said he got some miners to light them in celebration of the Fourth of July.

Harry Ettlinger in the Heilbronn-Kochendorf salt mines

Harry Ettlinger in the Heilbronn-Kochendorf salt mines

Among the numerous honors he has received are the National Humanities Medal in 2007; the 2012 Emma Lazarus Statue of Liberty Award of the American Jewish Historical Society; the Staufer Medal in Gold, the highest order of merit for service to his home State of Baden-Wuerttemberg in 2014; also in 2014 an honorary Ph.D. from Lafayette College in Pennsylvania; and the Congressional Gold Medal, Congress’ highest recognition for distinguished achievements and contributions. Ettlinger’s exploits served as the inspiration for the character named Sam Epstein in the film The Monuments Men.

Address of Irina Bokova, UNESCO Director-General, on the Protection and Preservation of Cultural Heritage in Syria and Iraq

Irina Bokova

Photo: Michael R. Barnes

As we celebrate 60th anniversary of the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, culture is under attack in Syria, in Iraq, in Mali, in Libya.We are witnessing a campaign of ‘cultural cleansing’ in Iraq, cultural persecution of minorities, and systematic looting and illicit trafficking to finance extremist groups.

This war against culture is not new – Mr Harry Ettlinger has been eloquent about it – but we need to consider the needs of the ‘monuments men and women’ of today.

On 27 March, UNESCO held a special screening of “Monuments Men”, with the US Mission, followed by a high level expert panel on illicit trafficking.

There have been steps forward thanks to UNESCO’s 1970 Convention against Illicit trafficking of Cultural Property and the 1995 UNIDROIT Convention – but there remains much to be done to educate the art market, to halt wrongful acquisitions.

This is why in 2003, with the support of the US State Department, UNESCO launched a global Database of National Laws on Cultural Heritage – providing complete information in case of a legal question about the origin of an object.

On Iraq, UNESCO has organized several experts meetings, bringing together ICCROM, ICOMOS, ICOM, Interpol, the Customs Organization. We have launched, on the 17th of July, an Emergency Response Action Plan, starting with the creation of an online observatory.

UNESCO will host another expert meeting on 29 September, at the initiative of France and Iraq.

We have immediately shared coordinates of major cultural heritage sites with the United States, when in early August the US announced its intention to carry out air strikes in Iraq.

I have sent letters to all ministers of foreign affairs of all neighbouring countries, state parties and non-state parties to the 1970 Convention, as well as customs agencies, museums and auction houses, calling for heightened vigilance and control, in cooperation with the Iraqi delegation.

On June 17, July 28, August 8, I have made statements to raise awareness on the importance to protect culture, for instance the Citadel of Erbil, just inscribed on the world Heritage list.

In Syria, with support from the European Union and the Flemish Government of Belgium, we are working with all partners to create a monitoring mechanism to assess the state of heritage.

One year ago, I joined many of you for the launch of the ICOM Red List of Syrian Antiquities at Risk Emergency.

In Mali, UNESCO is now rebuilding the 14 destroyed mausoleums, in partnership with local communities.

This is our response to extremism and ignorance.

We can do more – I have called for consideration by the UN Security Council of a resolution to set an international ban on trade in Syrian cultural objects. We need to ring the bell louder, to ensure respect of the 1954 Hague Convention, and we work with the International Criminal Court in Mali to bring those responsible of destructions to justice.

Our biggest enemy may be the false pretext that in emergencies, one should leave culture aside.

Attacks against culture are attacks against people, and this is why protecting heritage must be an integral part of all peace-building efforts, to safeguard a heritage of diversity and tolerance – to prepare the ground for reconciliation.

In this spirit, I thank all our partners here today for their commitment – including the Smithsonian Institution, our host, the United States Department of State, the Metropolitan Museum, and the United States Committee of the Blue Shield.

USCBS Award for Meritorious Military Service in Protection of Cultural Property

USCBS Peterson AwardFor the US Committee of the Blue Shield Award for Meritorious Military Service in Protection of Cultural Property, the USCBS Board considers men and women in uniform who during the course of military service demonstrate sophisticated understanding of the critical role of cultural property in force multiplication, stabilization in crisis areas, and ultimately in conflict resolution. The winner of this award will have implemented cultural property protection considerations during planning and execution of military missions.  Brigadier General Erik Peterson is the first winner of this award which is not necessarily given on an annual basis.

Acceptance Speech of Brigadier General Erik Peterson

Brigadier General Erik Peterson accepting the USCBS Award for Meritorious Military Service in Protection of Cultural Property

Brigadier General Erik Peterson, at the USCBS Annual Meeting, accepting the USCBS Award for Meritorious Military Service in Protection of Cultural Property, with Dr Nancy Wilkie – USCBS President at left, and Dr Laurie Rush – USCBS Board Member. Photo: Michael R. Barnes

Good afternoon friends – Director General Bokova, Dr Kurin, Dr Wilkie, U.S. Committee of the Blue Shield Members, and distinguished colleagues.

I am – very sincerely – humbled and honored to be here today. And a bit overwhelmed at being recognized by such an august group – and even more so – being recognized for simply being a teammate and supporting efforts that were and are clearly in the interest of the military missions I’ve been engaged in.

Add to that – sponsorship and generous hosting of this gathering by the Smithsonian Institution – an organization I’ve admired and benefitted from since childhood, and this magnificent venue – the Hirshhorn Museum a treasure in and of itself. In short – even an Old Soldier can be awe-struck.

While engaged in various assignments over the past several years – both in the US and abroad – it has been my great pleasure to learn from and engage with some amazing professionals and scholars – dedicated to the preservation of our troubled world’s rich cultural heritage. My natural shared interest in these things was honed and focused – in no small part -by my friend, colleague and cultural mentor, Dr Laurie Rush, and by engagement with the COCOM Cultural Heritage Action Group.

As a professional Soldier, I’m rather naturally a student of history, geography and culture. As an empathetic human being, I also appreciate art, religion, traditions and the rich diversity of our world’s peoples. My profession has afforded the opportunity to travel widely – mostly to the troubled places – to see and experience much of this – at times to witness the very best and the very worst of humanity – and to earn a sincere appreciation for your noble efforts.

To understand the vital nature of your work – one only has to see the effect and feel the visceral revulsion resulting from the wanton destruction of the Buddhas of Bamiyan, the looting of the Iraqi National Museum, demolition of the Al Askaria Shrine (more commonly known as the Golden Mosque) in Samarrah, the looting of antiquities and archeological sites during recent turmoil in Egypt. Or read reports of the artifacts of ancient Benin lost in the Nigerian conflict, and the burning of the rich, irreplaceable trove of manuscripts in Timbuktu. And most recently ISIS’s systematic and malicious destruction of shrines, temples, churches, mosques and other historic and culturally significant sites in North Eastern Syria and Northern Iraq – representing thousands of years of rich history of diverse races, religions and cultures.

Where your efforts and our collective teamwork are effectively applied, we can make a difference – Soldiers and their leaders become aware, respectful of, and actively protect irreplaceable cultural treasures – in the spirit of our colleague Corine Wegner’s efforts in Iraq, or Laurie Rush and team in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya. To understand the tangible benefit one only has to see the joy and pride in Sammarah at the reopening of the rebuilt Golden Mosque, or the unifying and calming effect of the refurbished and secured Shah Maqsud Shrine in remote Khakrez, Afghanistan, the national pride of the reopening of the Iraqi National Museum or the Afghan museum displaying and sharing with the world the treasured Bactrian Gold Ornaments. Or, a bit closer to home – witness and feel the pride and solemn respect of Heads of State of the Onondaga, Oneida and Mohawk nations as they visit well protected and documented paleo-indian sites at Fort Drum, New York.

These efforts are not only morally right – in the eyes of the international community and enlightened people, and compliant with law and policy; but are they practical and effective militarily – they contribute directly to stabilization, unity, conflict termination and post-conflict resolution.

As such, US Army Special Operations Command is placing additional emphasis on the human dimension of competition and conflict, and investing in structure and organizations like the Institute for Military Support to Governance – and in our emerging doctrine and operational design, placing significant specified emphasis on culture as it relates to the causes, conditions and resolution of conflict.

Finally, I’d like to offer thank to Theresa Sims, an old friend, for her selfless efforts in organizing this event. And, most importantly, I must recognize our role models – represented here today by Harry Ettlinger. I’m terribly sorry that I wasn’t able to be here for your remarks – thank you for your courage and determination in the face of a daunting task. Our world is much richer because of you and your teammates’ efforts. We can only pray to do the same for our children.

Again, thank all of you for your efforts, leadership, and teamwork – we’ve come a long way, but much remains to be done. And thank-you for this recognition. I am truly humbled.

Letter to USCBS from Congressman Engel

Although Congressman Engel was unfortunately unable to attend our annual meeting, he sent a letter of apology and expressed his approval and support of the efforts of USCBS to safeguard cultural heritage during times of armed conflict. 

Meeting Program of Events

U.S. Committee of the Blue Shield and Smithsonian Institution Meeting Celebrating the 60th Anniversary of the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict

Friday, September 19, 2014, 1:00-5:30 p.m.Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Ring Auditorium, Smithsonian Institution

  • Opening remarks by Richard Kurin, Under Secretary for History, Art, and Culture, Smithsonian Institution
  • Welcoming remarks by Nancy Wilkie, President US Committee of the Blue Shield
  • Keynote Speaker, Harry Ettlinger, member of the U.S. Army’s Monuments, Fine Arts and Archives section
    of the Civil Affairs Division during WW II
  • Major Tommy Livoti, speaking on behalf of Brigadier General Hugh Van Roosen, Institute for Military Support to Governance, John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School, Fort Bragg, NC
    “Update on the 21st Century Monuments Men program”
  • Patty Gerstenblith, DePaul University: “The 1954 Hague Convention at 60,” and Laurie Rush, “Activities of the Combatant Command Cultural Heritage Action Group”
  • Congressman Eliot Engel, Ranking Member Senate Foreign Affairs Committee. Letter of support of the efforts of USCBS to safeguard cultural heritage during times of armed conflict, read on his behalf by Patty Gerstenblith
  • Irina Bokova, Director General, UNESCO
  • International Updates Panel: Salam Al Kuntar, University of Pennsylvania (Syria); Susan Wolfinbarger, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) (Syria and Cambodia/Thai Border Situation); Katharyn Hanson, (AAAS), (Iraq); Corine Wegener, Smithsonian Institution (Mali, Egypt); Sarah Parcak, (National Geographic Society), (Egypt); Amr Al Azm, Shawnee State University, (Syria) and Brian Daniels (“Building Community and Capacity for the Study of Cultural Heritage in Conflict”, National Science Foundation Project)
  • Presentation of USCBS Award for Meritorious Military Service in Protection of Cultural Property to Brigadier General Erik C. Peterson, Commanding General, US Army Special Operations Aviation Command
  • Richard Kurin and Nancy Wilkie – Signing of Memorandum of Understanding between the Smithsonian Institution and the U.S. Committee of the Blue Shield

U.S. Committee of the Blue Shield Meeting Wednesday, April 10th

We will be joined by the Working Group on the Protection of Syrian Heritage in Conflict, organized by the Smithsonian Institution, ARCH, and Blue Shield Austria

Wednesday, April 10th, 2013, from 1:30 pm – 4:30 pm

Smithsonian Institution

S. Dillon Ripley Center Lecture Hall (3rd level down)

1100 Jefferson Drive SW (entry is between the Smithsonian Castle and the Freer Museum)

Washington, DC

Metro Stop: Smithsonian (Blue/Orange Line)

Admission is free and open to anyone, but please RSVP to Paul Wegener at

Speakers will include:

Dr. Nancy Wilkie, President, USCBS

Dr. Patty Gerstenblith, DePaul University College of Law, USCBS board                   

Dr. Laurie Rush, USCBS board

Dick Jackson, USCBS board

Cori Wegener, Smithsonian Institution, USCBS founding president

Karl Habsburg, President, Association of National Committees of the Blue Shield, Blue Shield Austria               

and  Dr. Richard Kurin, Under Secretary for History, Art, and Culture, Smithsonian Institution


Vienna in April! General Assembly of the Association of National Committees of the Blue Shield

A General Assembly of the Association of National Committees of the Blue Shield will take place 25-27 April, 2012, in Vienna, Austria.  All those interested in the activities of the Blue Shield are welcome.  The program will begin with a field exercise on the first day in the morning. The second day is reserved for elections, reports and round tables. The third day is also intended for a field exercise.

We recommend that you arrange your arrival as early as the 24th, where we plan to host a welcome reception in the evening. We invite you to consider using the long weekend for an enjoyable stay in Vienna. Hotel information will be provided as soon as possible.

Lecture “Beyond the Iraq Museum: Protecting our Cultural Heritage in Times of Crisis”

When Monday, February 6, 2012, 12 – 1pm
Where DePaul Center
1 E Jackson Blvd
Chicago, IL 60604
Contact Name Cecelia Story
Contact Email
Building/Room DePaul Center
Continuing Legal Education No
Building/Room Number Room 8005
Event Sub-Title Arts Law Colloquium Series with Corine Wegener
Speakers Corine Wegener, Associate Curator, Minneapolis Institute of Arts; President, U.S. Committee of the Blue Shield
Description The tragic looting of the Iraq National Museum in 2003 shocked cultural heritage professionals into action and led to the U.S. ratification of the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict in 2009. Natural disasters, global climate change, and political instability also continue to place our cultural heritage at risk around the globe. As a response to these events, Minneapolis Institute of Arts curator and former military officer Cori Wegener founded the U.S. Committee of the Blue Shield in 2006. Part of an international network, USCBS is a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting cultural property during armed conflict and natural disasters. Wegener will provide a slide presentation about her experience with the Iraq National Museum and describe the current state of efforts to protect our shared cultural heritage in times of crisis.
Primary Sponsor Center for Intellectual Property Law & Information Technology
Other Sponsor(s) Center for Art, Museum & Cultural Heritage Law

Please email Cecelia Story at to RSVP for this event.


“Hell Hath No Fury” Lecture, Donny George Candlelight Vigil for Global Heritage

The University of Minnesota Institute for Advanced Studies and the Department of Classical & Near Eastern Studies Present

A lecture by Cori Wegener, Associate Curator
Decorative Arts, Textiles and Sculpture, Minneapolis Institute of Arts

“Hell Hath No Fury: How the Looting of the Iraq Museum Changed the Way Archaeologists Think About Armed Conflict”

This lecture is part of the “Donny George Candlelight Vigil for Global Heritage” in memory of Donny George Youkhanna, former director of the Iraq National Museum, sponsored by Saving Antiquities for Everyone (SAFE). Donny George, who ardently supported protection of the world’s shared cultural heritage, was a valued colleague and a man of integrity. His sudden passing due to a heart attack on March 11, 2011 leaves a void in the soul of Iraqi archaeology.


In 2003, the archaeological community united in shared outrage over the tragic looting of the Iraq Museum. Later, damage and looting of archaeological sites in Iraq also took place, including preventable damage to sites at or near Coalition bases. With a renewed determination to prevent such damage in future conflicts, archaeologists began to think about how they could contribute to the preservation of collections and archaeological sites during armed conflict. Wegener will talk about her experiences working with archaeologists, including Donny George, both while serving in Iraq as a U.S. Army officer and later as founder and president of the U.S. Committee of the Blue Shield.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011 at 7:00 PM
Nolte Center for Continuing Education Room 125
University of Minnesota , Twin Cities Campus