Sunday, June 26, 2011

Can an Effective Advocate Be a Good CPAC Chair?

CPAC's new Chair, Professor Patty Gerstenblith, has been a very effective and knowledgeable advocate for the archaeological cause. I've seen that for myself over the past decade from practicing before CPAC and serving with Prof. Gerstenblith in a leadership position in the ABA International Law Section's Art and Cultural Heritage Law Committee.

As Chair, Professor Gerstenblith's challenge will be to transition from acting solely as an advocate for the "context over all" archaeological position to ensuring that the Convention on Cultural Property Implementation Act is properly applied at CPAC and that all voices-- not just those of the archaeological community-- are heard and duly considered at CPAC meetings.

For CPAC to retain any relevance at all it will be critical for Professor Gerstenblith to make that transition. I'm confident she can do so, but she will certainly be up against the perceptions of both archaeologists and those opposed to the extension of import restrictions to even the most common artifacts, like ancient coins.

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