Markkula Center of Applied Ethics

UN Official Discusses Restitution of Cultural Property

Guido Carducci, Chief of the International Standards Section of UNESCO, addressed the role of law and ethics in the return of stolen or "discovered" art and heritage objects at a luncheon March 9 sponsored by the Global Leadership and Ethics Program of the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics.

Carducci, a lawyer, works with the Division of Cultural Heritage at UNESCO. He covered:

  • The Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict: Adopted at The Hague in 1954 in the wake of the massive destruction of cultural heritage during the Second World War, this was the first international agreement focusing exclusively on the protection of cultural heritage.

  • Recent legal conventions increasingly requiring the return of stolen art.

  • Underwater Cultural Heritage: Historical wrecks—including vessels, aircraft, other vehicles and their cargo—make up the greater part of underwater cultural heritage.

  • Safeguarding intangible cultural heritage including oral tradition, music, lost history, know-how, etc. Globalization is one of the causes for the loss of intangible cultural heritage.

  • Threat to tangible heritage including environmental deterioration, tourists, theft, illicit usage, smuggling.

For more information on these organizations, visit the UNESCO website.

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