Monday, June 13, 2011

CPRI Files FOIA Request on Purported Egyptian Done Deal

The Cultural Policy Research Institute has requested the State Department and U.S. Customs and Border Protection to disclose documents about a purported MOU with Egypt engineered by a coalition of archaeological groups led by the Capitol Archaeological Institute. For more, see

As a press release indicates,

The Cultural Policy Research Institute is deeply concerned by the implication that the actions of the Cultural Property Advisory Committee and the State Department’s Department of Cultural Affairs are being directed by a coalition archaeological lobbyists.

Dr. Hawass’ description of their discussion strongly suggests that the statutory requirements of the Convention on Cultural Property Implementation Act (CCPIA) have been completely ignored and the decision-making role of the Cultural Property Advisory Committee to the President (CPAC) has been superseded.

The message is clear: a Memorandum of Understanding with Egypt would be initiated and drafted by a private U.S. group, not by the U.S. Government, as contemplated under the Cultural Property Implementation Act. The same private group has apparently guaranteed that the U.S government would sign an agreement with the Government of Egypt limiting access by all Americans to art from a founding civilization of the ancient world.

Will the State Department Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs Cultural Heritage Center and U.S. Customs come clean about delegating agreement authority to a private archaeological group? Or, will they stonewall as they have in the past?

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