India is one of the best-prepared countries for post-pandemic tours. It creates the opportunity to reflect and rethink the future of tourism by bringing about a paradigm shift in diversifying visitor experiences: Professor Amareswar Galla, PhD, Chair Inclusive Museums and Sustainable Heritage Development, UNESCO, at the session, Discover #Incrediblelndia Connecting with Culture, Heritage & Spirituality, at #IndiaPavilion #Expo2020Dubai #IndiaAtDubaiExpo #Expo2020Dubai #Investindia #AmritMahotsav
Date – 22 December 2021
Time – 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM
Topic – Valuing Culture – Phd Thesis of Dr Deborah Tranter
Speaker – Prof Dr Amareswar Galla, UNESCO Chair on Inclusive Museums and Sustainable Heritage Development
The lecture focused on making rhe PhD candidates understand the fundamentals of thesis writing. Drawing on his primary supervisory experience with Dr Deborah Tranter and others from the University of Queensland, Prof Galla reelected on the process of writing a PhD thesis.
Returning the Loot: How to Tackle the Illicit Trafficking of Cultural Property in South Asia | 15-16 December 2021| UNESCO House, New Delhi
A two-day capacity building workshop focusing on the means to combat the illicit trafficking of cultural property in South Asia was organised at the UNESCO House, with an inaugural session held in the presence of senior government officials and experts, representatives of international organisations and diplomatic missions.
Entitled “Returning the Loot”, and based on the principles of the 1970 UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property, the gathering of experts aimed to raise awareness on the need to strengthen national legislation and tighten controls, establish greater regional cooperation, and strengthen security in museums and at heritage sites.
Worldwide, the illicit trafficking of cultural property represents today the third largest international criminal activity, and is surpassed only by drugs and arms trafficking. While the amount of global sales of art and antiques was recorded at US$ 50.1 billion in 2020, experts estimate that the illicit trafficking of cultural property may separately total up to US$10 billion every year.
According to INTERPOL figures, 854,742 cultural objects were seized globally by law enforcement agencies in 2020, but the illicit traffic and looting of cultural heritage increased dramatically in the last decade all over the world, owing in part to globalisation of the marketplace, with easier flows of capital. More recently, the vulnerability of security at sites and museums during the COVID-19 pandemic has also been a point of concern.
“There is a growing recognition of the inalienability of cultural property from its place of origin, and all the stakeholders must work together to fight illicit trafficking. One of the tools at our disposal is the 1970 UNESCO Convention but international partnerships and regional cooperation must be significantly bolstered.”
He mentioned the joint activities of UNESCO with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), and pointed out that the workshop is held in the wake of the recent return of 157 artefacts and antiquities from the United States on the occasion of the visit there of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in September 2021.
Among the countries most ready to co-operate with regards to illegal trafficking of cultural property, Mr. Falt singled out and praised Australia, which has returned a number of objects in recent years and has pledged to return 14 more objects in 2022.
Speaking from Canberra, the Curator, Provenance at the National Gallery of Australia, Ms. Bronwyn Campbell spoke of her country’s commitment and willingness to combat illicit trafficking of cultural property.
The session was also addressed by Ms. Lily Pandeya, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Culture, Government of India.
“The workshop is a turning point high level UNESCO event that could make India a leading country in fighting illicit traffic in cultural property. A comprehensive systems approach has been scoped to develop a framework for safeguarding all forms of India’s rich heritage, especially in the context of international looting during the pandemic”
– Prof Dr Amareswar Galla, UNESCO Chair on Inclusive Museums and Sustainable Heritage Development, Anant National University, India
The high level workshop was led by him and focused on capacity-building and engagement with prominent decision-makers and key stakeholders to unpack challenges and opportunities for South Asia.
The 1970 UNESCO Convention marked its 50th anniversary in 2020 and has become increasingly significant against emerging challenges to the protection of cultural heritage from theft and illicit trading. It equips States Parties with a framework to prohibit and prevent the import, export and transfer of cultural property, as well as encourage its return and restitution.
- Dedicated brochure entitled “Returning the Loot”
- About the 1970 UNESCO Convention
- Text of the 1970 UNESCO Convention and Operational Guidelines
- Video – 50 years of the fight against illicit trafficking (watch here)
- Interview of Prof Dr Amareswar Galla on 1970 Convention (watch here)
- OPED on illicit trafficking by Mr Erick Falt & Prof Dr Amareswar Galla entitled “India Needs a ‘Local’ Push to Stop Cultural Property Trafficking“
Title: Collections, Communities and Connections
Date: Wednesday, 27th October 2021
Time: 7:30 – 9:00 PM Indian Standard Time
Recording Link: https://youtu.be/Qpk01cfR-A4
All the international conferences of ICOM and UNESCO in the past two years have emphasised once again the centrality of community engagement in the post pandemic realities of museum development. Despite forty years of such a concern there has been a poverty of inclusive cultural leadership. Heritage Matters 21 brings you a global champion of public archaeology, museums, visitor research and cultural diversity. He hosted the International Research Network Conference on the Inclusive Museum in 2017 in Manchester.
Guest: Dr Nick Merriman, Director of the Horniman Museum and Gardens, London and Honorary Professor of Museum Studies, University of Manchester. Previously he was the Director of the Manchester Museum, England; and held leadership roles at the Museum of London and University College, London. Host: Professor Dr Amareswar Galla, UNESCO Chair on Inclusive Museums and Sustainable Heritage Development, AnantU, Ahmedabad; Emeritus Faculty at the Australian National University, Canberra; and Chairperson, International Research Network Conference on the Inclusive Museum, Philadelphia, 2022. (onmuseums.com)
Heritage Matters Webinar 20 | Monuments, Cities and Connected Histories Confirmation | 6 October 2021
Title: Monuments, Cities and Connected Histories Confirmation
Panel: Dr. Shashank Shekhar Sinha is an independent researcher and currently works as Publishing Director at Routledge (South Asia). He formerly taught in undergraduate colleges at the University of Delhi. Isha Banerji is Editor at Pan Macmillan India, where she publishes books across three imprints: Pan, Macmillan and Picador. Host: Professor Dr Amareswar Galla is UNESCO Chair on Inclusive Museum and Sustainable Heritage Development at AnantU, Ahmedabad and Emeritus Faculty at the Australian National University, Canberra.
Title: Indigeneity & Towards A New Social Contract
Heritage Matters Webinar 18 | Public Spaces & Heritage Values – Australian Perspectives | 2nd August 2021 | 2:30 – 4:00 PM IST
Title: Public Spaces & Heritage Values – Australian Perspectives
Date: 2nd August 2021
Time: 2:30-4:00 PM IST
Title: Tree Planting as a Spiritual Journey
Date: 5th June 2021
Time: 9:30-11:00 PM IST
Recording Link: https://youtu.be/F4LjCx2rKbY
Environmental degradation, Climate crisis and the Pandemic are interrelated. Environmental recovery is a priority. Afforestation and carbon sequestration are critical actions that everyone could take responsibility for as part of their local action plans. World Environment Day advocates putting ecosystem restoration on a pedestal. Reimagine. Recreate. Restore. Together, these form the theme of World Environment Day 2021 on 5 June, a day when the UN seeks to focus the attention of investors, businesses, governments and communities on the increasingly urgent need to restore the Earth’s ecosystems. In this context, Green Sakthi is a not-for-profit collective committed to deepening the relationship between people and nature. (www.greensakthi.org) It aspires to plant 5 million trees in Tamil Nadu, South India. Heritage Matters is focused on: Post Pandemic Sustainability Research: Towards a Green Economic Recovery for Nature, People and Planet. (https://onsustainability.com/) Heritage Matters is partnering with Green Sakthi in a conversation on the deep rootedness of tree planting as a spiritual journey.
Host: Sonya Bekkerman from New York City is an art consultant and Vice President of Divine Love World Charity, a 501 non profit organization.
Initiative: Nathalie Latham, French Australian, has been leading Green Sakthi initiatives since 2010. These include education, solar energy and the #5milliontrees program.
Narrative: Dr Amareswar Galla, UNESCO Chair on Inclusive Museums and Sustainable Heritage Development; Professor of Inclusive Cultural Leadership, Anant National University, Ahmedabad, India; and Founding Executive Director, International Institute for the Inclusive Museum, Australia/USA.
Link to Session Recording: Click Here