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Panel Discussion


THE ROLE OF DOCUMENTATION STANDARDS AND INTER-AGENCY COOPERATION pdf.gifThe Role Of Documentation Standards And Inter-Agency Cooperation

Prevalent among the many threats to our cultural heritage are looting, theft and destruction during times of armed conflict. It is shocking that illicit trafficking in art and antiquities is a multibillion dollar industry. It is often connected to money laundering and terrorist activities! Despite international conventions, looting and theft remains a lucrative industry!

Key to the protection of our cultural property is documentation based upon internationally accepted standards and methods. International law enforcement agencies such as INTERPOL and EUROPOL have pointed out that without proper documentation it is almost impossible to recover cultural objects that have been taken illegally.

On this basis, there is an urgent need to produce inventories and documents of cultural property that meet international standards and can be openly accessed. What forms of documentation are needed and used? Since no one agency is responsible for protecting cultural property, is there sufficient collaboration across key agencies to produce documentation and report looted or stolen cultural property? Are there worldwide policies in place to support open access to documentation?

This panel will bring together leaders from the International Council of Museums; US Department of State, Division of Cultural Property; Interpol; and World Customs Organization to discuss how these agencies are working together to protect cultural property and the type of documentation needed by law enforcement and international agencies to establish ownership of cultural property.


France Desmarais

Director of Programmes and Partnerships, International Council of Museums (ICOM)

As the International Council of Museums’ (ICOM) Director of Programmes and Partnerships, since 2010, France Desmarais develops the institution's strategic partnerships and leads the organisation’s programmes department in all issues which concern it, specifically in the field of museum emergency preparedness and response, in ICOM's international fight against illicit traffic in cultural goods, as well as diverse tangible and intangible heritage related issues. Under her leadership and initiative, ICOM's Programmes Department created, in 2013, the International Observatory on Illicit Traffic in Cultural Goods ( ).

In developing ICOM's programmes and actions to protect cultural heritage at risk, France works closely with different museums around the world, national governments and international organizations such as UNESCO, INTERPOL, UNODC, WCO, UNIDROIT. She is the permanent Secretary of ICOM's Disaster Relief Task Force for Museums and is administrator of the International Committee of the Blue Shield (ICBS).

Before joining ICOM, Ms. Desmarais had previously worked in museum management for over ten years, namely as Head of Strategic Initiatives for a museum in Montreal, Canada, where she is from. She also worked and lived in Central Africa and in the Middle East, teaching at the Faculty of Arts at the Lebanese University. France is now based in Paris, at ICOM's international headquarters.

Maria P. Kouroupas

Executive Director, Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation and Director Cultural Heritage Center, US Department of State

Maria P. Kouroupas is the executive director of the Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation. She attended the University of Arkansas and the State College of Arkansas, receiving a Master’s Degree in History and Education. In 1977 she worked for the American Association of Museums in Washington D.C., and in 1984 she began at the United States Information Agency, where she became Deputy Director of the Cultural Preservation Advisory Committee. In 1993 she was named its director, and she also served as the executive director of the Committee before coming to The Cultural Heritage Center in that same capacity.


Seconded to INTERPOL (ICPO), General Secretariat (Lyon, France), Sub-Directorate “Drugs and Organized Crime”, Works of Art Unit

- 1993 – 2001 : French Ministry of the Interior, Interior Intelligence Service, External Relations Department . - 2001 – 2002 : French Ministry of the Interior, Interior Intelligence Service, Communications Department (contact with local and regional press sector, liaison with various press organizations, printers and others, collaboration with polling organizations). - 2002 – Dec. 2004 : French Ministry of the Interior, General Directorate of the National Police, Office of European and International Affairs (preparation of multilateral meetings (G5 and G8) and Justice and Home Affairs councils of the European Union, monitoring of aspects of institutional and operational police cooperation within the European Union). - 2005 – 2006 : Prefecture of Ajaccio, Cabinet of the Deputy Prefect for Security in Corsica, Office of Coordination and Analysis (production of daily bulletins and information reports about law enforcement activities and political, social and legal issues on the island, management of statistical databases dealing with terrorism and criminal matters). - 2006 – Dec. 2008 : Embassy of France in Berlin (Germany), Deputy Police Attaché. - 2009 : Individual training leave (education leave). - 2010 – 2013 : French Ministry of the Interior, Directorate of International Cooperation, Office of the Americas (8 months) and then Office of International Organizations (preparing for G8 Summit led by France, in particular the action plan aimed at strengthening transatlantic cooperation in the fight against drug trafficking (May 2011), monitoring of discussions and negotiations on security matters within international organizations (OSCE, ONUDC), specialized in monitoring progress in the Dublin Group (anti-drug efforts), coordinating and monitoring steps taken in West Africa as part of the informal Fontanot Group, monitoring of negotiations on European judicial directives conducted at the European level considering their impact on French police activity).

Laurent Pinot

Regional Intelligence Liaison Office Western Europe (RILO WE), World Customs Organization.


Laurent Pinot, born on the 14th July 1972 in France. After being graduated from the Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Strasbourg in 1998 (Politic Sciences Studies Institute of Strasbourg), I went to the Institut d'Etudes Judiciaires de Strasbourg in 1999 (Judicial Studies Institute of Strasbourg), just before entering the French Customs in the year 2000. From 2001 to 2011, I had under my responsability several surveillance services (brigades) at the Belgian border in the North of France, accounting more than one hundred officers. My main task was to organize the fraud strife in the area, especially in the fields of narcotics and Intellectual Property Rights. I had also to deal with all the other fraud commodities that the Customs have to face in their daily work, including cultural heritage smuggling.

In 2011, I was appointed as Technical Attaché at the Regional Intelligence Liaison Office for Western Europe (RILO WE) in Cologne Germany. The RILO WE, within the World Customs Organization (WCO) network, aims to facilitate the exchange between the Customs agencies and/or with the other associated bodies. The RILO WE is also in charge of the practical implementation of the decisions of the WCO, especially in the operational field. In this way in 2012, I created a communication platform dedicated to Cultural Heritage fraud prevention named ARCHEO, in order to help the Customs agencies to face the challenges they have in this field. ARCHEO is a “real-time communication tool” for the exchange of information and cooperation in the protection of cultural heritage amongst customs administrations, competent national agencies, international organisations and their regional networks, as well as other enforcement authorities with similar responsibilities. The Programme accounts already almost 50 countries for around 65 different agencies; all the major International Organizations involved in this fight are part of ARCHEO.

Eleanor E. Fink

Art and Technology Advisor, Moderat

Eleanor E. Fink is an international art and technology consultant and philanthropy advisor. She has held senior positions at the Smithsonian, J. Paul Getty Trust, and World Bank. Currently she manages the American Art Collaborative (AAC), a project comprised of 13 US museums interested in the benefits of Linked Open Data.  The planning phase of the AAC is funded by the Andrew Mellon Foundation.

At the World Bank she served as the point person for relations with public and private foundations. During her tenure she established several international partnerships and helped launch a World Bank wide community foundation initiative that explores the concept of establishing indigenous foundations in developing countries. She also coordinated the establishment of the Development Gateway Foundation ( as a 501 c (3). The Foundation's core mission is to reduce poverty and support sustainable development through the use of information and communication technologies (ICT).

From 1986 to 1998 she was a program officer and then Director of the J. Paul Getty Trust's Information Institute (GII) where she led the development of information policies and standards needed to document, manage, and protect cultural property. The Getty Vocabularies are one of the products of her leadership. As Director, she positioned the Getty Information Institute around the concept of universal access to art and images and promoted the concept of "interworkability" within and across arts, humanities, and cultural heritage organizations.
She conceived and launched Object ID -- an internationally recognized information standard that helps protect and recover stolen art objects. Today, Object ID is used and endorsed by a wide group of organizations and agencies including the US State Department, US Military, UNESCO, ICOM, Interpol, and the Carabinieri. Also at the Getty, she established Los Angeles Culture Net --- a web based gateway to the arts across the greater Los Angeles area and American Strategy ---a digital gateway to art collections across Federal agencies in Washington, DC.

Before joining the J. Paul Getty Trust, she was Chief of the Office of Research Support at the Smithsonian American Art Museum where she directed several research projects. She established SOS: Save Outdoor Sculpture, a highly successful national arts program that engages volunteers in recording historical and physical condition information about sculptures located in parks, towns, and cities throughout the United States.



The Panel Forum is in cooperation with the EU Member States Expert Group on Digitization and e-Preservation, the International Committee for Digital Documentation CIPA and the EU Projects: FP7-PEOPLE ITN-DCH, FP7-PEOPLE IAPP 4D-CH-World, DARIAH-ERIC, FP7-ICT i-Treasures, CIP ICT-PSP LoCloud and CIP ICT-PSP Europeana-Space