In Focus

Summer Course on Cultural Heritage, Crime and Security: Protecting our Past to Invest in our Future
Rome, 7-11 September 2020
Early bird deadline:
31 May 2020

Rome (Italy), 7-11 September 2020

Standard Application deadline: 15 July 2020

Early Bird deadline: 31 May 2020

The protection of cultural heritage is a critical component within the framework of the United Nations Sustainable Development Agenda, as reported under Goal 11 through which countries have pledged to “make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.” In particular, Target 11.4 of Goal 11 aims to “strengthen efforts to protect and safeguard the world’s cultural and natural heritage.”

On this point, the number of international crimes related to the looting and trafficking of cultural heritage property have significantly grown. Moreover, their links to international criminal activity, including the financing of terrorist groups, are becoming more evident year by year.

The deep concern of the United Nations on this matter is also demonstrated by the adoption in the past decades of diverse conventions reporting these phenomena as critical parts of the international crimes model. The year 2020 marks the 50th anniversary of the UN Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property.

With these considerations in mind, the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI), in cooperation with the American University of Rome (AUR), is organizing the first edition of the Summer Course on “Cultural Heritage, Crime and Security: Protecting our Past to Invest in our Future,” which will take place at the AUR Campus in Rome in September 2020 (dates to be released soon).

The course will provide participants with a fundamental understanding of heritage crime and how heritage organisations, law enforcement bodies and judicial systems are responding to the issue. The course curriculum is likely to include the following topics:

  • Protection of cultural property: the international legal framework
  • Countering looting
  • Understanding criminal trafficking networks
  • Tourism security plans: the importance of the protection of cultural heritage
  • Armed conflicts, peacebuilding and the protection of cultural heritage
  • Protecting museums and heritage sites
  • Heritage and stability policing
  • Building communities and supporting development through cultural heritage

The Summer Course will combine theory-based lectures with roundtable discussions, exigent case studies, and practical exercises. The faculty will be composed of leading scholars and academics from AUR and other universities, as well as heritage professionals and security practitioners from the United Nations system, international and non-governmental organizations, and civil society.

Through this unique learning environment, participants will have the opportunity to interact with internationally recognised experts, meet peers and build lasting relationships with young professionals and students from around the world. This intensive experience fosters intercultural dialogue and promotes a deeper understanding of the most salient issues faced by the international community in relation to cultural heritage, crime and security.

For further information on the application process, entry requirements, registration fees and certificate of participation, please visit the How to apply page or send a message to

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