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The DGAM holds a Workshop on (the Fight against Illicit Trafficking of Cultural Property) in 12-13 May
10/05/2013 - عدد القراءات : 3188

Under the Patronage of Her Excellency Dr. Lubana Mushaweh, Minister of Culture, the Directorate-General of Antiquities and Museums Holds a Workshop on (Capacity-Building and Awareness-Raising on the Fight against Illicit Trafficking of Cultural Property).

The workshop will be held at  the National Museum of Damascus between 12 and 13 May 2013.

The value and significance of cultural heritage as part of the human heritage lie in the fact that it symbolizes the genius of a nation and constitutes one of the phases of cultural development and civilization of mankind. Moreover, what stresses this fact is that the loss of a single artifact is seen as a great irreplaceable loss not only to the country possessing it but also to all mankind in that the heritage of any nation is merely one episode in a series of episodes of the tale of the whole humanity since man existed on earth.

Furthermore, it is believed that the standards by which the significance of a certain thing is normally determined can be its materialistic value, spiritual value, the extent of its contribution to the safety, security, progress and wealth of humans, or at least its minimum involvement in their daily life. Thus, considering antiquities as a human achievement and an essential source for history writing, we are bound to study and pay more attention to them seeing that they did not come from nowhere, and they are the product of human civilization throughout the centuries perfected by architects, sculptors, painters, engravers and creative goldsmiths who had the talent and the gift to add a touch of multifaceted beauty and a unique genius to the heritage which has been transmitted from one generation to another and from one nation to another till the present day.

Antiquities represent the tangible aspect of civilization and are considered as an important economic source of national income through tourism. Therefore, the state has given them top priority in the modern age, has passed laws and has made regulations to protect them. Besides, paying too much attention to tangible antiquities has not only been done on a nationwide scale, but also on a worldwide scale in that the cultures of nations are the most valuable human property.

Today, the Syrian cultural heritage is being subjected to looting and plunder by thieves who have caused damage to a number of significant sites in the history of Syria such as Mari, Doura Europos, Apamea and Gebel al-Woastani sites in Idlib listed as World Heritage, which might expose our memory to theft; this memory, we need in order to learn more about ourselves, can play a major role in making others understand us in a better way. Nevertheless, stealing and smuggling the cultural property have become very common practices that have affected first and foremost our archaeological sites.

Thus, for several years, the DGAM in cooperation with the concerned authorities has contributed to the application of all substantive and procedural rules included in the local regulations and international conventions in order to protect and safeguard these sites. Although this measure is considered as an established protection technique, it may not be enough unless supported by the citizens' and stakeholders' awareness of the fact that antiquities should be everyone's responsibility.

Workshop objectives:
  1. Elaborating on the topic of illegally smuggled artifacts, and their historical and cultural significance to the country in addition to their importance together with other ones in complementing the scientific information.
  2. Discussing the legal aspects and local and international regulations associated with the main goal of the workshop as well as their effectiveness in light of the latest international developments.
  3. Highlighting the role of the state in promoting intellectual awareness among all segments of the society concerning antiquities and the national heritage.
The Ministry of Culture
Interested Members of People's Assembly
The Directorate-General of Antiquities and Museums (DGAM)
The Ministry of Tourism
The Ministry of Information
The Ministry of Education: National Commission for UNESCO
The Ministry of Interior
The Ministry of Higher Education/Damascus University: Faculty of Archaeology – Architecture – History
The Ministry of  Awqaf (Endowment)
The Ministry of Justice
Organizations of local community: NGO Forum
Researchers, artists and local writers

Workshop Schedule

Day One

Sunday, 12/05/2013

10:00 – 14:15


Opening Ceremony 10:00 – 10:30

10:00 – 10:15

Opening Speech


Her Excellency Dr. Lubana Mushaweh, Minister of Culture


10:15 – 10:30

Smuggled antiquities and Syrian government's stand


Dr. Maamoun Abdulkarim, Director-General of Antiquities and Museums


10:30 – 10:45



Session One 10:45 – 12:15


The experience of the DGAM in preserving cultural property


Moderator: Dr. Mahmmud Hamud

10:45 – 11:15

The system of preservation and inventory of cultural property – the Syrian Red List

Dr. Hiba Sakhl

11:15 – 11:45

Antiquities theft and vandalism of archaeological sites

Mr. Ahmad Taraqji

11:45 – 12:15

Cultural heritage and trading in contemporary arts in world markets

Mr. Talal Mualla

12:15 – 12:45



Session Two 12:45 – 14:15


Local and international regulations and legislations


Moderator: Mr. Muhammad Nazeer Awad

12:45 – 13:30

Normative framework to fight against illicit trafficking

Illicit trafficking of cultural property as an international problem



Mr. Ayman Sulaiman

13:30 – 13:45

A short film on illicit trafficking of cultural property

13:45 – 14:15



Day Two

Monday, 13/05/2013

10:00 – 13:30


Session One 10:00 – 11:00


Cooperation with customs and other organizational authorities


                                   Moderator: Dr. Ammar Abdul Rahman    

10:00 – 10:30

The role of national INTERPOL in protecting and returning antiquities


Mr. Johny Singer  

10:30 – 11:00

The role of governmental institutions in protecting and returning antiquities: Reality and Hope


Mr. Johny Singer  

11:00 – 11:30



Session Two 11:30 – 13:00


Antiquities and the role of society in protecting them


Moderator: Dr. Talal Uqaili

11:30 – 12:00

The role and experience of the Syrian National Committee in safeguarding heritage

Dr. Nidal Hasan

12:00 – 12:30

The role of the local community in preserving cultural property

En. Luna Jaber

12:30 – 13:00

Educational media and its role in protecting cultural property

Mr. Daoud Abu Shaqra

13:00 – 13:30


Plenary Session and Recommendations


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