The time is right for adopting a framework for the protection of cultural heritage.

The J. Paul Getty Trust, prompted by the destruction of cultural heritage in Syria and Iraq, is enlisting the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect to engage in an educational campaign for the protection of cultural heritage in conflict zones.

The campaign seeks to raise awareness of UN Member States regarding the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict and its additional protocols, as well as recent resolutions by the UN Security Council.

To that end, the J. Paul Getty Trust has initiated a series of papers on culture at risk.

The first of these papers, Cultural Cleansing and Mass Atrocities: Protecting Cultural Heritage in Armed Conflict Zones, addresses the connection between cultural heritage and cultural cleansing, mass atrocities, and the destruction of cultural heritage. Pulling together various threads of discourse and research, Cultural Cleansing and Mass Atrocities outlines the issues, challenges and options effecting change.


Thomas G. Weiss is Presidential Professor of Political Science at the CUNY Graduate Center and Andrew Carnegie Fellow completing Would the World Be Better without the United Nations? (2018); he is also Director Emeritus (2001–14) of the Ralph Bunche Institute for International Studies. He is Past President of the International Studies Association (2009–10) and recipient of its IO Distinguished Scholar Award 2016. He directed the United Nations Intellectual History Project (1999–2010); he was Chair of the Academic Council on the UN System (2006–9), Editor of Global Governance, Research Director of the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty, Research Professor at Brown University’s Watson Institute for International Studies, Executive Director of the Academic Council on the UN System and of the International Peace Academy, a member of the UN secretariat, and a consultant to public and private agencies. He has written extensively about multilateral approaches to international peace and security, humanitarian action, and sustainable development.

Nina Connelly is a research associate at the Ralph Bunche Institute of the CUNY Graduate Center, where she is researching international development and the United Nations. She is a PhD candidate in political science and teaches at Baruch College.