A new role for NATO in conflict zones

CERL Affiliated Faculty Lynn Meskell recently returned from Brussels, where she presented on heritage conflict at UNESCO World Heritage sites and post-conflict reconstruction to NATO. One year after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, she urges NATO to operate with more local information and understanding as part of their longer-term humanitarian efforts. According to Prof. Meskell:

Russian officials said that they had not damaged a single World Heritage site during the conflict, and they are going to argue that they have not broken any international laws. Instead, they claim to be protecting heritage, which of course they want to appropriate for themselves: This is cultural imperialism. And this is the moment to ask Ukrainians what is important to them and to support them in their efforts, as it should be for those people still living in the ruins of conflict in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen.

Lynn Meskell is Penn Integrates Knowledge Professor in the Graduate Program in Historic Preservation and Department of City and Regional Planning, Richard D. Green Professor of Anthropology in the School of Arts and Sciences, and curator in the Middle East and Asia sections at the Penn Museum. Her award-winning book, A Future in Ruins: UNESCO, World Heritage, and the Dream of Peace (Oxford, 2018), reveals UNESCO’s early forays into a one-world archaeology and its later commitments to global heritage. Read her bio here.

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