On September 19, 2014, USCBS held an Annual Meeting celebrating the 60th Anniversary of the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict in conjunction with the Smithsonian Institution at the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington D.C. Harry Ettlinger, a member of the U.S. Army’s Monuments, Fine Arts and Archives section of the Civil Affairs Division during WW II, presented the opening keynote address.
Other highlights of the meeting included an address by Irina Bokova, Director General, UNESCO; the presentation of the first USCBS Award for Meritorious Military Service in Protection of Cultural Property to Brigadier General Erik Peterson, Commanding General US Army Special Operations Aviation Command; and the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Smithsonian Institution and the US Committee of the Blue Shield.
February 2014 saw renewed interest in the Monuments, Fine Arts and Archives unit during WWII with the premier of the film starring George Clooney, "The Monuments Men," an adaptation of the nonfiction book Monuments Men, by Robert Edsel. USCBS offered a screening of the film in Minneapolis on February 9, with an introduction by Perry McGowan, co-founder and Treasurer, USCBS.
The USCBS held an open meeting at the Smithsonian Institution on April 10, 2013, in conjunction with the Working Group on the Protection of Syrian Heritage in Conflict, which was organized by the Smithsonian Institution, the Alliance for the Restoration of Cultural Heritage (ARCH) International, and Blue Shield Austria. Among the topics discussed were the Future of the 1954 Hague Convention, U.S. Implementation of the Military Aspects of the 1954 Hague Convention, Syrian Cultural Heritage in Crisis, the Iraq Museum and a Decade of Progress, and the Smithsonian Haiti Cultural Recovery Project.
Nicolas, author of Rape of Europa, "The Fate of Europe's Treasures in the Third Reich and the Second World War", co-sponsored by USCBS, the University of St. Thomas, and the Dr. Harold C. Deutsch World War II History Round Table, spoke in St. Paul, MN on 12 October 2011. Nicholas’ book is considered the seminal work on the displacement of cultural assets during World War II.
On 23 October 2009, in conjunction with the Lawyers’ Committee for Cultural Heritage Preservation, USCBS presented a day-long conference on “Culture and Conflict: the U.S. and the 1954 Hague Convention" at the National Trust for Historic Preservation in Washington, D.C.
Topics addressed by the speakers included: an evaluation of the continuing efforts for restitution of art works looted during the Holocaust; what government organizations, particularly the U.S. military, are doing to ensure compliance with the 1954 Hague Convention; what more the U.S. must do to protect its own cultural heritage in event of conflict; the prospects for future ratification of the Hague Convention’s First and Second Protocols; and the role of the Hague Convention ratification within U.S. public and cultural diplomacy.
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