Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Cultural Policy Implementation Act: Is it Working?

Cultural Policy Research Institute
215 W. San Francisco St. Suite 202C Santa Fe, NM 87501

The Cultural Policy Research Institute Presents
The Cultural Property Implementation Act:
Is it Working?

Monday, March 21, 2011
Russell Senate Office Building RM 485, Washington, D.C.
Coffee and Pastries at 9:00 am Program 9:30 – 11:30 am

Introduction: Why this Seminar? 5 Minutes
Speaker: Arthur Houghton (CPRI President; former Museum Representative CPAC)

Session One: Congressional Intent in Passing the
Convention on Cultural Property Implementation Act 30 Minutes
Speakers: Mark Feldman (former attorney, Department of State), James Fitzpatrick (Retired Partner, Arnold & Porter, Adjunct Professor, Georgetown University), Dr. Richard M. Leventhal (Professor of Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania), Andrew Oliver (former Director, National Endowment for the Humanities Museum Program).

Session Two: How the Cultural Property Advisory Committee has Operated in Practice 30 Minutes
Speakers: Jay Kislak (Past CPAC Chairman), James Fitzpatrick (Retired Partner, Arnold & Porter, Adjunct Professor, Georgetown University), Kate Fitz Gibbon (former Trade Representative CPAC, CPRI Executive Director), Dr. Richard M. Leventhal (Professor of Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania).

First Question & Answer Period – All Above. 10 Minutes

Session Three: Customs Enforcement - Fidelity to the Law? 15 Minutes
Speakers: Michael McCullough (former Vice President, Sotheby’s, attorney in private practice), US Customs Representative (TBA).

Session Four: Prescriptions for the Future - What More is Needed? Speakers: All 30 Minutes

Final Question & Answer Period – All Speakers. Remaining Time

CPRI wishes to thank the Honorable Kirsten Gillibrand for making this Capitol Hill program possible.
Questions? Contact CPRI at

Why this Program? In 1983, Congress passed the Convention on Cultural Property Implementation Act (CPIA) to enact the 1970 UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property into U.S. law. Broadly speaking, the 1970 UNESCO Convention contemplates that governments will enter into agreements to enforce each other's cultural property laws. The U.S. Senate ratified the 1970 UNESCO Convention subject to reservations intended to preserve the “independent judgment” of the United States as to when and how to impose import restrictions on cultural artifacts when requested by State Parties to the Convention. The CPIA set up a panel of experts, the Cultural Property Advisory Committee, to assist the President in his decision-making. The President has delegated his authority to the State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA). U.S. Customs and Border Protection has complementary authority to promulgate import restrictions. Over the years, the ECA’s administration of the CPIA and Customs’ implementation of restrictions has been much criticized.

Senators Moynihan and Dole were instrumental in securing passage of the CPIA. They worked hard to ensure that the CPIA was the product of compromise. To gain support of the museum and arts community, limitations were placed on the executive’s ability to enter into agreements with other countries to impose import restrictions. A provision requiring U.S. restrictions to be part of a “concerted international response” was added to ensure the effectiveness of restrictions.

Initially, import restrictions were imposed on behalf of poor, third world countries, and on narrow ranges of artifacts. After almost three decades, however, import restrictions are now in place on behalf of wealthy EU members like Italy and Cyprus, superpowers like China, and on ever increasing categories of artifacts like ancient coins. Archeologists and their supporters applaud these developments, but critics in the museum and art communities believe that the State Department has disregarded the criteria established by law and cloaked its operations in secrecy to hide an abuse of power. In this seminar, experts in the field will discuss whether the CPIA is working as intended.

What is the Cultural Policy Research Institute?

CPRI is a 501(3)(c) nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing public education and understanding of the issues that underlie the ownership and disposition of cultural property.

CPRI conducts research into the legal, administrative, political and ethical issues that shape the continuing debate about the acquisition, display, conservation and publication of cultural artifacts.

CPRI strongly encourages cooperative means to preserve the world’s cultural heritage for future generations, including means to protect cultural sites of all types from damage or destruction by conflict, looting, development or neglect.

CPRI disseminates information on cultural policy issues through its website,

No comments: