Cultural Antiquities Task Force Conducts Law Enforcement Workshops in Greece and Qatar

To prevent illicit trafficking and to counter the effects of climate change on cultural heritage, the State Department-led Cultural Antiquities Task Force (CATF) trained foreign law enforcement officials through two workshops held in September 2022 in Greece and Qatar.

Building on the successful recent training in Cyprus, CATF supported a three-day workshop in Athens on protecting cultural heritage from climate change and illicit trafficking.  The workshop was organized by the International Council of Museums and featured CATF trainers from the Department of State, Homeland Security Investigations, and Customs and Border Protection, with additional climate experts from the Smithsonian Institution and the U.S. private sector.  This workshop delivered on a call to action by Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry for the United States and Greece to work together to combat the climate crisis and protect cultural heritage.

In Doha, the Qatar National Library hosted a regional workshop on countering trafficking in cultural property including documentary heritage like ancient manuscripts. The workshop was organized in coordination with the U.S. Embassy, the Ministry of Culture, the French and Italian embassies, and relevant Qatari stakeholders. CATF members from the U.S. Department of Justice, Homeland Security Investigations, and the FBI presented their work to disrupt the trafficking of international cultural property in the United States. The workshop also covered relevant international law, customs and law enforcement strategies, trends in cultural property trafficking marketplaces, and the role of the judiciary in restitution and repatriation matters. 

In the coming months, CATF will offer additional in-person training workshops in Latin America and Southeast Asia. CATF is a law enforcement-focus working group of the Cultural Heritage Coordinating Committee. Both are managed by the State Department’s Cultural Heritage Center.