Global Grants, Europe The Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at ASU, Penn Global, and the University of Copenhagen, sign a memorandum of understanding to create the Heritage Warfare Consortium

November 9, 2023
By Penn Global

The Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University, Penn Global, and the University of Copenhagen, have signed a memorandum of understanding to create the Heritage Warfare Consortium (HWC) to bring together multidisciplinary experts in the field of cultural property protection and accountability. Recent conflicts demonstrate the centrality of cultural heritage in conflicts, military strategy and accountability. Cultural heritage constitutes a critical frontier in a world shaken by policy crises and identity-based violence. 

The Consortium’s goal is to advise governments, militaries, and international organizations on the increasing importance of cultural heritage in conflict and to assist in establishing accountability for the destruction of cultural heritage as a tool of conflict and to assist leaders in establishing guidelines accountability for the destruction of cultural heritage.

Working towards this goal, the consortium brings together anthropologists, political scientists, military experts and international lawyers.  HWC will identify threats to communities, the military & strategic value of cultural heritage as predictor of aggression and genocide, and the changing lens of accountability including the uses of AI and technology in recording damage and preserving it for future prosecutions.  HWC’s unique multi-dimensional expertise and its ability to advise from the moment heritage is targeted through to accountability for the destruction of heritage is what defines its role in heritage protection. 

HWC is comprised of experts in the field of cultural property protection and will be led by:

Andrea Matačić Cayley, J.D. Ph.D., the executive director of the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, has 20 years’ experience working as a war crimes prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts Cambodia. She worked with UNESCO to prepare the indictment and prosecution of the most significant case of cultural property destruction in Yugoslavia (Prosecutor v. Pavle Strugar IT-01-42-A) and worked on the prosecution of numerous Bosnian cases where the destruction of Bosnian Muslim heritage was found to be a crime against humanity. She has advised on universal jurisdiction cases brought against Liberian as well as Syrian and Ukrainian war criminals. She has been part of the NATO cultural property advisory since 2016 and is a coordinator of the Atrocity Crimes Advisory group for Ukraine. 

Lynn Meskell, Ph.D., is Penn Integrates Knowledge (PIK) Professor at the University of Pennsylvania, Richard D. Green Professor of Anthropology in the School of Arts & Sciences, professor in the Department of Historic Preservation in the Weitzman School of Design, and curator in the Middle East and Asia sections at the Penn Museum. She is currently A.D. White Professor-at-Large at Cornell University (2019–2025). She holds Honorary Professorships at Oxford University and Liverpool University in the U.K., Shiv Nadar University, India, and the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa. Dr. Meskell has conducted an institutional ethnography of UNESCO World Heritage. She has conducted a largescale survey project in Syria and Iraq to assess public opinion on heritage destruction and reconstruction. Other fieldwork explores monumental regimes of research and preservation around World Heritage sites in India and how diverse actors and agencies address the needs of living communities. She is the author of A Future in Ruins: UNESCO, World Heritage, and the Dream of Peace (2018, OUP New York).

Fredrik Rosen, Ph.D. is the director of the Nordic Center for Cultural Heritage and Armed Conflict in Copenhagen, Denmark. For more than a decade, he has been a key advisor to governments and international organizations on cultural property protection in relation to armed conflicts. He is the author of Collateral Damage: A Candid History of a Peculiar Form of Death and the co-author of The Preservation of Art and Culture in Times of War. His research interests include cultural heritage, crisis, and disaster management, and the ethics of war. He has published extensively on international law and security. His prior positions include associate professor in the law faculty at the University of Copenhagen and senior researcher at the Danish Institute for International Studies.

The public launch of  HWC will be:
(Media are invited to cover)

November 14, 2023
4:30 PM
ASU Barrett and O’Connor Washington Center
1800 I Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20006