Protecting our cultural heritage – collaboration model

Mar 9, 2017

Rebuilding our Future

In times of war and conflict, human lives take priority. But, when we come to the post-war period, cultural heritage is vital to build trust for Peace and Reconciliation. The future can be rebuilt with the ruins of the past, turning these silent witnesses of war and destruction into envoys of peace and reconciliation.

When you see these artifacts, you might see them as looted objects, private property law, criminal law, or compensation.  When I see these artifacts, I see memories of youth. I see my grandparents praying to these objects. Bringing these looted treasures back home has been a major healing process for me.  It has been, “My Walk of Truth”.

I wish to empower every Icon Hunter from Iraq, Syria, Yemen, and other areas that are struggling with the realities of conflict.  Walk of Truth is a way for me to share my network and experiences, and I’m always open to collaboration. Walk of Truth has the potential to build your capacity overnight without needing to beg for extra budget or waste your time investigating an object that wasn’t actually looted.

Understanding the Issues

In 2013, we had a roundtable debate at the Peace palace in the Hague.  We took case studies from Cyprus and Afghanistan, compared them and came up with a list of recommendations.  The major issues, other than the ones I mentioned in my previous blog, where the lack of coordination amongst the actors and their initiatives, and the absence of public engagement.

After our debate, Dr. Willy Bruggeman facilitated a relationship between my team and the Belgian police force; they gave us access to an analyst who worked with us to develop a model of cooperation which we tested with real case studies.  We’d like to share this model with those in the criminal justice community to develop it further.