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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
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“
Link to Session Recording: Click Here
On World Heritage Day, West Bengal Art Leadership Council, WICCI organized the talk to understand and revisit the placement of gender in terms of equality and equity in heritage sites of India. The president of WBALC, WICCI Ms. Reena Dewan was in conversation with Prof. Amareswar Galla.
Link to Recording: Click Here
Registration Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_LExyyiVgTGeJq6dFld8gzg
Having experienced the impetus to museum cultures, their engagement, and their outreach via the necessary adaptation required due to the pandemic how do we see the museum experience undergoing a change in the future? What is the new role of the museum? How is the museum visit going to change in terms of interaction, the virtual, and the exploratory? What role will data play in informing museum cultures? What can museums do to keep up with the technological and interactive design advancement to stay relevant? What will be the elements of the museum of the future?
Dr Amareswar Galla (UNESCO Chair on Inclusive Museums and Sustainable Heritage Development, Anant National University, Ahmedabad)
Sabyasachi Mukherjee (Director-General of CSMVS, Mumbai)
Abhishek Poddar (Founder, MAP)
Roobina Karode (Director & Chief Curator of the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art)
Mofidul Hoque (Founder-Trustee, The Liberation War Museum)
Moderator: Suresh Jayaram, Founder of 1.Shanthiroad Studio
UNESCO Online Debate on Museums | Reflections on the Future of Museums | 18th March 2021 | 6:30-9:30 PM IST
UNESCO brings together 12 museum directors from around the world at an online debate on 18 March. The event will focus on the impact of the pandemic on museum institutions, the lessons learnt, how they are addressing ongoing challenges and shaping the future of museums. Over 90% of the world’s 95000 museums have closed their doors during the first wave of Covid19, a considerable percentage of which were shut down again since the last semester of 2020. Even though museums globally have quickly adapted to the situation, the impact of the pandemic will significantly change, even redefine, museums in the post Covid era.
After an opening by Lazare Eloundou Assomo (Director of Culture and Emergencies at UNESCO) and Alberto Garlandini (President of ICOM), the panelists will discuss the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the future of museums within two high-level panels.
The first panel, moderated by Laurella Yssap-Rinçon (Memorial ACTe Guadeloupe), includes Barbara Jatta (Vatican Museums), Barbara Helwing (Vorderasiatisches Museum, Berlin), Xudong Wang (Palace Museum, Beijing), Juliana Restrepo (National Museum of Colombia) and Tristram Hunt (Victoria & Albert Museum, London).
The second panel, moderated by Emmanuel Kasarhérou (Quai Branly – Jacques Chirac museum, Paris), includes Antonio Saborit (National museum of Anthropology of Mexico), Hamady Bocoum (Museum of Black Civilizations, Dakar), Mikhail Piotrovski (State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg), Ahmed Farouk Ghoneim (National museum of Egyptian Civilization, Cairo) and Deborah Lynn Mack (National museum of African Art, Washington D.C.).
Watch the debate in French: http://webcast.unesco.org/live/room-12/fr
Watch the debate in English: http://webcast.unesco.org/live/room-12/en
For any questions or inquiries about this event, please contact UNESCO Museums Unit at: email@example.com
The Webinar on the ‘Significance of Fellowships’ will discuss the importance of scholarships in practice-based art research. The webinar invites experienced voices to introduce the audience to the essential aspects of fellowships and scholarships and discuss the pros and cons of such support systems, while exploring the possibilities of practice-based researches in the field of independent art practise.
Speakers: Prof Dr Amreswar Galla (Academician & Mentor), Pooja Sood (Art Administrator), Anurupa Roy (Practitioner, Former fellow and Initiator);
Moderator: Ms Reena Dewan (Director of KCC)
To know more, visit – www.kolkatacentreforcreativity.org/program
Reframing Museums is a first-of-its-kind, virtual symposium to address new challenges and responsibilities facing museums today. The symposium will see a daily programme of roundtable panel discussions, break-out groups, and keynotes from global leaders such as HE Noura Al Kaabi (Minister of Culture and Youth, UAE), HE Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak (Chairman, Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi), Jean-Luc Martinez (Director of Musée du Louvre, France), Kwame Anthony Appiah (Professor of Philosophy and Law, New York University and NYU Abu Dhabi, UAE/USA), Krzysztof Pomian (historian and philosopher) and Nujoom Al Ghanem (poet and film director)
The programme was developed by a curatorial committee and informed by key learnings gleaned from pre-symposium workshops titled “Unframed Voices.” Hosted by both institutions, the workshops were conceived to enable active engagement from a broad range of voices before and during the symposium
The three-day symposium is free and open to the public. The full programme and registration are available on the Reframing Museums website.
Prof Amareswar Galla spoke on the topic ‘InDivisible World Views & Indigenous Peoples’ in Roundtable 5 | Voices of authority: expertise, participation and inclusion in the museum of tomorrow. Click Here for Recording.