Threats to Cultural Heritage in Iraq and Syria
September 21, 2014
Secretary of State John Kerry will join the Director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Thomas Campbell, and its
president, Emily Rafferty, on September 22 to highlight the destruction of irreplaceable cultural heritage taking place
throughout Iraq and Syria at the hands of violent extremists like the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and the
The event, to be held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City amid the United Nations General Assembly week,
will feature a presentation by Professor Michael Danti and remarks from Secretary Kerry, Director General of UNESCO
Irina Bakova, and other distinguished members of the preservation and museum community.
As the United States responds to the violence in Iraq and Syria that has destroyed millions of lives and caused enormous
suffering to the region’s people, we also remain deeply concerned about the destruction of cultural heritage in these
areas of tragic conflict. Ancient treasures have now become casualties of continuing warfare and looting and are targets
Historic monuments and archaeological sites of the world, which enrich modern societies by connecting all of us to our
cultural origins and informing our identities, must be preserved.
The unique cultural heritage of both Iraq and Syria represent an historical sequence of human development from ancient
times to the present day. The Department of State remains committed to preserving these countries’ ancient cultures and
joins international partners, intergovernmental organizations, and other institutions in advancing efforts to protect
and restore this heritage.