Thursday, September 10, 2009

Conference: "Culture and Conflict: The United States and the 1954 Hague Convention"

In March 2009, the United States ratified the 1954 Hague Convention on the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict raising serious questions about implementation and next steps for the U.S. military and for this country generally. The Lawyers' Committee for Cultural Heritage Preservation and U.S. Committee of the Blue Shield present a conference, "Culture and Conflict: The United States and the 1954 Hague Convention," to consider the domestic and international ramifications of U.S. ratification. The conference will begin with an evaluation of the continuing efforts to restitute art works looted during the Holocaust and not recovered in the immediate aftermath of World War II, particularly in light of the June 2009 Prague conference on the status of restitution efforts throughout Europe and the United States. The program will then turn to what government organizations, particularly the U.S. military, are doing to ensure compliance with the Hague Convention and to avert or mitigate cultural damage in future conflicts. The final panel will discuss what more the U.S. must do to protect its own cultural heritage in event of conflict, the prospects for future ratification of the Hague Convention's First and Second Protocols, and the role of the Hague Convention ratification within U.S. public and cultural diplomacy.

The conference will be held on Friday, October 23, 2009, at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C. Confirmed speakers include:

Lynn Nicholas, author of Rape of Europa: The Fate of Europe's Treasures in the Third Reich and the Second World War
Monica Dugot, Senior Vice-President and International Director of Restitution, Christie's, New York
Robert Edsel, author of The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves, and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History
Patty Gerstenblith, President, Lawyers' Committee for Cultural Heritage Preservation, and Distinguished Research Professor, DePaul University College of Law
Karl von Habsburg, President, Association of National Committees of the Blue Shield, and Cultural Property Protection Officer, Austrian Army
Richard Jackson, Special Assistant to the Judge Advocate General for Law of War Matters and Colonel (Ret.), U.S. Army
Thomas R. Kline, Partner, Andrews Kurth LLP and Assistant Professorial Lecturer, George Washington University, Museum Studies Program
Hays Parks, Deputy General Counsel for Law of War Matters in the Department of Defense General Counsel's Office and Colonel (Ret.) U.S. Marine Corps
Corine Wegener, President, U.S. Committee of the Blue Shield; Associate Curator, Decorative Arts, Textiles, and Sculpture at The Minneapolis Institute of Arts, andMajor (Ret.) U.S. Army Reserve
Nancy Yeide, Head, Department of Curatorial Research, National Gallery

The Lawyers' Committee will hold its first members meeting and a reception at the National Trust for Historic Preservation the afternoon of Thursday, October 22.

A full program and registration for the conference will be available on the LCCHP website,, on September 24, 2009.