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The Ancient Coin Collectors Guild has become a driving force in the ongoing effort to protect coin collectors and museums in which coins are stored from being forced to give up these items to foreign governments under the premise the coins are the cultural patrimony of the claimant nation. — Richard Giedroyc, World Coin News April 26, 2010



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CPRI to host Washington Seminar

A CPRI seminar, open to the public, will address issues related to the Convention on Cultural Property Implementation Act and its administration.

March 11, 2011

Monday, March 21, 2011

Russell Senate Office Building 485, Washington, D.C. 

The Cultural Policy Research Institute Presents

The Cultural Property Implementation Act: 

Is it Working?

The Cultural Policy Research Institute (CPRI) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization 
dedicated to advancing public education and understanding of the issues 
that underlie the ownership and disposition of cultural property.

In 1983, Congress passed the Convention on Cultural Property Implementation Act (CPIA) to enact the 1970 UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property into U.S. law. Broadly speaking, the 1970 UNESCO Convention contemplates that governments will enter into agreements to enforce each other's cultural property laws. The U.S. Senate ratified the 1970 UNESCO Convention subject to reservations intended to preserve the “independent judgment” of the United States as to when and how to impose import restrictions on cultural artifacts when requested by State Parties to the Convention. The CPIA set up a panel of experts, the Cultural Property Advisory Committee, to assist the President in his decision-making. The President has delegated his authority to the State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA). U.S. Customs and Border Protection has complementary authority to promulgate import restrictions. Over the years, the ECA’s administration of the CPIA and Customs’ implementation of restrictions has been much criticized.

Senators Moynihan and Dole were instrumental in securing passage of the CPIA. They worked hard to ensure that the CPIA was the product of compromise. To gain support of the museum and arts community, limitations were placed on the executive’s ability to enter into agreements with other countries to impose import restrictions. A provision requiring U.S. restrictions to be part of a “concerted international response” was added to ensure the effectiveness of restrictions.

Initially, import restrictions were imposed on behalf of poor, third world countries, and on narrow ranges of artifacts. After almost three decades, however, import restrictions are now in place on behalf of wealthy EU members like Italy and Cyprus, superpowers like China, and on ever increasing categories of artifacts like ancient coins. Archeologists and their supporters applaud these developments, but critics in the museum and art communities believe that the State Department has disregarded the criteria established by law and cloaked its operations in secrecy to hide an abuse of power. In this seminar, experts in the field will discuss whether the CPIA is working as intended.

Coffee and Pastries at 9:00 am Program 9:30 – 11:30 am


Why this Seminar? — Speaker: Arthur Houghton (CPRI President; former Museum Representative CPAC).  5 Minutes

Session One:

Congressional Intent in Passing the Convention on Cultural Property Implementation Act — Speakers: Mark Feldman (former attorney, Department of State), James Fitzpatrick (Retired Partner, Arnold & Porter, Adjunct Professor, Georgetown University), Dr. Richard M. Leventhal (Professor of Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania), Andrew Oliver (former Director, National Endowment for the Humanities Museum Program).  30 Minutes

Session Two:

How the Cultural Property Advisory Committee has Operated in Practice — Speakers: James Fitzpatrick (Arnold & Porter, Georgetown University), Jay Kislak (Past CPAC Chairman), Kate Fitz Gibbon (former Trade Representative CPAC, CPRI Executive Director) and Dr. Richard M. Leventhal (University of Pennsylvania).  30 Minutes

First Q&A:

All Above. 10 Minutes

Session Three:

Customs Enforcement - Fidelity to the Law? — Speakers: Michael McCullough (former Vice President, Sotheby’s, attorney in private practice), US Customs Representative (TBA).  15 Minutes

Session Four:

Prescriptions for the Future - What More is Needed? — Speakers: All 30 Minutes 

Q&A: All

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