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Italy and the U.S. present MOU on import restrictions of archaeological material to fight art trafficking
Recovered archaeological artifacts are pictured in Rome, on March 22, 2016. ALBERTO PIZZOLI / AFP.

WASHINGTON, DC.- On March 23 at the Embassy of Italy in Washington D.C. Italian and U.S. officials, joined by representatives of the private sector, will present to the public the Memorandum of Understanding between the Governments of Italy and the United States concerning the Imposition of Import Restrictions on Categories of Archaeological Material Representing the Pre-Classical, Classical and Imperial Roman Periods of Italy. The agreement, which was first adopted 15 years ago, was extended again for an additional five year period on January 19, 2016.

The initiative will be part of the “Protecting our Heritage” series of events organized by the Washington cluster of the European Union National Institutes of Culture (EUNIC) under the 2016 Italian rotating presidency held by the Italian Cultural Institute in Washington DC.

The agreement continues to provide the legal tools to fight art trafficking, and at the same time offers a unique framework in which to strengthen cultural cooperation between our two countries through academic, scientific and educational initiatives.

“This MoU represents a vital and valuable instrument to confront pillage and illicit trafficking of cultural objects and paves the way for further cooperation to help protect our cultural heritage. Thanks to this tool it is easier to enjoy and appreciate artwork from Italy knowing it has followed a safe and legitimate path,” commented the Ambassador of Italy to the United States, Armando Varricchio, who will introduce the event together with the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs, Evan Ryan. “Moreover, the renewal of this agreement highlights once again the superb collaboration between the U.S. and Italy and their respective cultural institutions,” Ambassador Varricchio said.

The event, co-organized by the Embassy of Italy and the U.S. Department of State, will bring together eminent speakers on the subject of arts trafficking and protection of heritage including: Raymond Villanueva, Deputy Assistant Director of International Operations, Homeland Security Investigations, Department of Homeland Security; Major Massimo Maresca of the Italian Carabinieri Command for the Safeguarding of Cultural Patrimony; Karol B. Wight, President and Executive Director of The Corning Museum of Glass; Alex W. Barker, Director of the Museum of Art and Archaeology of the University of Missouri; Ann Benbow, Executive Director of the Archaeological Institute of America and Donatella Cavezzali, Director of the School of the Higher Institute for Conservation and Restoration of the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism.

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