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Are Good Laws Enough to Protect National Treasures? The impact of legislations on cultural objects in the Mekong region | A Talk by Etienne Clément

About this lecture

In his presentation, Mr Clément will relay the many ways in which a state’s national legislation prevents the theft and illicit export of national treasures or important cultural objects. The presentation will start with an overview of the international initiatives enacted since 1954 to promote collaboration between countries, in the form of Conventions and training. He will then detail the difficulties inherent in making these regulations effective, especially in the context of free global trade, including in South-East Asia. The presentation will include some of the observations Mr Clément made while working with concerned authorities in the Mekong region, and their efforts in making legislation more effective. The discussion will also present attempts by UNESCO and other national and international bodies to improve dialogue and communication between ministries in charge of cultural heritage on the one hand, and art dealers and collectors on the other hand. Beyond legislations and its effectiveness, Mr Clément will also share his views on museums in the Mekong region and their potential, not only in preventing the theft and illicit traffic of cultural objects, but also as educational institutions promoting the sharing of knowledge.

To comply with social distancing rules, we must limit the audience to 50 persons. Please book your seat in advance by emailing or phoning your booking to the Society.

About the speaker

Mr Etienne Clément is an international lawyer from Belgium and was a UNESCO staff member from 1984 to 2015. He contributed to the development of international legal standards and international Conventions for the protection of cultural heritage. In the late 1990s he worked in the Secretariat of the UNESCO Intergovernmental Committee for the Return of Cultural Property to their Countries of Origin or its Restitution in case of Illicit Appropriation. From 1998 he was successively UNESCO Representative to Cambodia, Deputy Director Field operations (UNESCO HQ, Paris), Deputy Director Regional Asia Pacific Bureau (Bangkok) and Director for Pacific States. He resides in Bangkok and actively promotes cultural heritage through lectures and publications.


Thursday, 5 November 2020 | 19:00


Lecture Room, 4/Floor, The Siam Society


Members and Students — Free of charge
Non-Members — THB 200

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