Archive for April, 2020


the international conference on Handling of Cultural Goods and Financing of Political Violence, at the Norwegian Institute in Rome, has been postponed

It is slightly strange to announce the postponement of a conference that itself has not been announced. Still, due to the safety measures for the coronavirus pandemic, the conference at the Norwegian Institute in Rome will not happen on the 7th-8th of May; it will be postponed until autumn or winter (or whenever restrictions on international travel are lifted).

When it happens, this international conference on Handling of Cultural Goods and Financing of Political Violence will bring together people who work in academia, cultural heritage, law enforcement and human rights, to discuss looting, theft, forgery and trafficking of cultural property from North Africa, West Asia, Eastern Europe and elsewhere, plus handling of illicit goods in Western Europe and North America, where markets consume art and antiquities without due diligence and online markets operate without effective governance. There will be a particular focus on conflict financing, with a broad view that encompasses everything from terrorist financing to regime enrichment.


fuelling of an illicit market and financing of political violence in Syria, feeding of propaganda around the world

In the course of expanding a study (into two studies) of the practice of “rescue”-by-purchase of looted antiquities, I traced out a case, that I mentioned before in the context of fake conflict antiquities, that intertwined destruction and looting in Syria; behaviour of law enforcement agencies in source and transit countries and businesses in market countries; the politics and economics of the war in Syria; and propaganda within Syria, across the region and around the world.

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