Qatar National Library Shines a Spotlight on the Dark Practice of Antiquities Trafficking

Press release
Published January 31st, 2021 - 10:29 GMT
Qatar National Library Shines a Spotlight on the Dark Practice of Antiquities Trafficking
A special webinar will examine the unlawful trade of cultural artifacts
Highlights
Everyone is familiar with organized crimes such as the trafficking of drugs, weapons and humans.

Everyone is familiar with organized crimes such as the trafficking of drugs, weapons and humans. But can the illegal trade of antiquities and archeological artifacts across the world be considered a form of organized crime? 

Qatar National Library will shed light on antiquities trafficking in a two-day webinar, “What is Antiquities Trafficking?” on 7 – 8 February 2021. The event will discuss the structures of supply chains for the illicit trade of cultural items, identify key stakeholders involved in the criminal practice, and explore the source, transit routes and market countries of the illegal activity. 

Stephane Ipert, Director of Distinctive Collections at the Library said: “For centuries, the Arab and Middle East region has produced many artifacts with historical, spiritual and aesthetic values. This rich heritage and the number of impoverished and conflict-affected nations have increased trafficking and smuggling of antiquities and artifacts in the region, threatening its cultural heritage. With this webinar, we aim to spread awareness about antiquities trafficking and help experts and law enforcement to counter this illegal activity.”  

The webinar is part of the Himaya Project Lecture Series, an initiative the Library launched to counter the trafficking and illegal circulation of documentary heritage in the MENA region and neighboring countries. Himaya engages international agencies and regional organizations to protect heritage artifacts and thwart the trafficking of such items. 

The discussions will be led by Veronica Costarelli, Project Manager, Cross-Border Syrian Emergency Response with IOM and a post-crisis antiquity trafficking researcher, and Dr. Samuel Andrew Hardy, post-doctoral research fellow in cultural heritage and conflicts, Norwegian Institute in Rome, University of Oslo. The event will be moderated by Maxim Nasra, Book Conservation Specialist at the Library. 

The speakers will use case studies from Iraq and Syria to clearly illustrate the different aspects and key features of antiquities trafficking and its transnational nature. 

The two-day webinar, which will be delivered in English, is intended primarily for cultural heritage experts, scholars, academics and law enforcement officials. Those interested to attend the event can visit the Library website (www.qnl.qa) to register. 

Background Information

Qatar National Library

Qatar National Library acts as a steward of Qatar’s national heritage by collecting, preserving and making available the country’s recorded history. In its role as a research library with a preeminent heritage library, the Library fosters and promotes greater global insight into the history and culture of the Gulf region. As a public library, we provide equal access for all of Qatar's residents to an environment that supports creativity, independent decision-making, and cultural development. Through all our functions, we provide leadership to the country’s library and cultural heritage sector.

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