The international illicit trade in cultural property, specifically antiquities, is not only a major threat to the cultural heritage of the MENA region, but also a significant source of revenue for radical organizations operating in the region. While bilateral cultural property protection agreements are an important step to counter this trade, stronger collaboration among the countries of the region is needed to better partner on this issue.

In response to this, the American Research Center in Egypt (ARCE) in partnership with the Council of American Overseas Research Centers (CAORC) and the US Department of State initiated a series of regional workshops. This initiative will bring together Ministry representatives and other officials from the region to discuss case studies, best practices, and expand their professional networks in the area of cultural property protection.

The conference consists of three-parts taking place between August 2021 and August 2023. The first part of the conference took place virtually from August 10-12, 2021. This is now being followed up with two in person workshops – the first of which will be in Jordan, from September 5-8, 2022 and the final conference will take place from June 8-12 2023 in Cairo, Egypt.

Invited Delegations

The First Regional Conference on Cultural Property Protection will bring together government officials from Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, Yemen, Algeria, Libya, Tunisia, Lebanon, Morocco and Palestine.

The final part of the Cultural Property Protection conference is titled: “Sustainable Documentation and Inventories Management” and will take place on June 8-12, 2023 in Cairo, Egypt.

This conference will discuss current challenges, potential opportunities, including sustainable software solutions, accessibility, and documentation best practices. Both government officials and our partner organizations are going to highlight the importance of digital documentation as a necessary solution for cultural heritage preservation. The goal is identifying changes, suggesting developments and exploring methods of improvement to the current practice.

Regional experts aim is to draft a white paper that will provide common and shared principles for successful strategies to meet the needs and challenges in the areas of documentation and site management across the region. It will also provide recommendations for sustaining these strategies, both regionally and within specific contexts.

In continuation of the First Regional Conference on Cultural Property Protection, the American  Research Center in Egypt (ARCE) in partnership with the Council of American  Overseas Research Centers (CAORC), US Department of State and the Department of Antiquities in Jordan will be partnering to organize the second segment entitled “Site Management: Strategies and Practices” taking place from September 5-8, 2022.

This conference will discuss regional approaches to site management as it relates to times of crisis. It will focus on current challenges and potential opportunities, including public-private partnerships, regional and international cooperation, and legislative frameworks that enable the effective and sustainable management of heritage sites. It will also include topics related to sites being affected by climate change and the steps governments are taking to address this issue.

The launch of the First Regional Cultural Property Protection consisted of virtual panels that took place over 3 days from August 10-12, 2021. The virtual component paved the road to produce a formal “white paper” that will be further discussed in the in-person conference taking place in Jordan from September 5-8, 2022.

This document aims to identify needs and challenges that are more country and/or situation specific, and therefore might require different or customized approaches. It will also provide recommendations for furthering/sustaining successful strategies, both regionally and within specific contexts.

This conference focused on Digitization, Management, and Sustainability of Heritage Collections, Site Management and Security, and Public Engagement and Outreach.

To view the list of presentations:

click here.

To watch the presentations’ recordings:

click here.



Sponsor: US Embassy Cairo

Main Partner:

Other Partners: