Sunday, April 6, 2008

The Who, What, Why, and How of the Cultural Property Advisory Committee ("CPAC")

On April 17, 2008 at 6:00 - 8:30 PM, the International Foundation for Art Research ("IFAR") will host a panel discussion about the Cultural Property Advisory Committee ("CPAC") in New York City.

In promoting the event, IFAR explains, "CPAC is responsible for reviewing requests by foreign governments to restrict the import into the U.S. of certain categories of their cultural property 'in jeopardy from pillage' and then recommending a course of action. The activities of the Committee are often not understood and are occasionally controversial. This is a rare opportunity to learn about this important committee from current and former members."

The panel sounds promising. Hopefully, the event will be an opportunity for the panelists to comment on the lack of transparency of process that representatives of collectors, museums and dealers in antiquities and ethnographic material have complained about for years. It will be particularly interesting to hear the perspective of panel members associated with the archaeological community. Interestingly, they have tended to be supportive of all the secrecy surrounding the workings of CPAC. Could this be due to the fact that their peers appearing before CPAC to support broad restrictions on cultural artifacts have a much better sense of State Department decision making processes based on their own personal connections with cultural bureaucrats in source countries and State Department staff?

For more information about the program, see:

1 comment:

Cultural Property Observer said...

I was unable to attend this event, but understand that Mr. Kislak (the current CPAC Chair) and Kate Fitz Gibbon (a past member representing dealers) raised concerns about transparency of process. I further understand that IFAR will publish the proceedings in an upcoming issue of their journal.