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About

International Law and Cultural Heritage

Established in 2019, the UNESCO Chair in Cultural Heritage and International Law is held by Professor Ana Filipa Vrdoljak and brings together an international and interdisciplinary team of researchers, advocates, and educators to advance knowledge and practice in international cultural heritage law and policy.

Our work focuses on promoting ratification, implementation and awareness of the UNESCO’s normative culture framework, facilitate its coherence and effectiveness, and understanding the role of culture in peace and sustainable development. Gender equality and Indigenous peoples are priority areas during the second phase (2023-2027) of our research and training programs.

The UNESCO Chair in Cultural Heritage and International Law is hosted by the University of Technology Sydney.

Professor Vrdoljak is the co-coordinator and UTS is the co-host of the UNESCO-UNITWIN Network on Culture in Emergencies.

— People

Ana Filipa Vrdoljak

Ana Filipa Vrdoljak holds the UNESCO Chair in International Law and Cultural Heritage. She is co-host and co-coordinator of the UNESCO-UNITWIN Network on Culture in Emergencies. She is Professor of Law, University of Technology Sydney. She is President of the International Cultural Property Society (U.S.). She is co-editor of the Oxford Handbook on International Cultural Heritage Law (Oxford University Press, 2020) and The 1970 UNESCO and 1995 UNIDROIT Conventions on Stolen or Illegally Transferred Cultural Property (Oxford University Press, 2024). Professor Vrdoljak is co-organiser of the Cultural Losses, Accountability and Reparations Project, Indigenous peoples and cultural heritage international research and capacity-building initiative, and Women and girls and cultural heritage initiative in the second phase (2023-2027) of the UNESCO Chair program.

Larissa Behrendt

Larissa Behrendt AO is a Eualeyai/Kamillaroi woman.  She is a Distinguished Professor of Law and ARC Laureate Fellow at the Jumbunna Indigenous House of Learning at the University of Technology Sydney. She an award-winning author, filmmaker, and host of Speaking Out on ABC Radio. She is trustee of the Australian Museum, is a director of the Sydney Dance Company and Chair of the Community Spirit Foundation. Professor Behrendt is co-organiser of the Indigenous peoples and cultural heritage international research and capacity-building initiative in the second phase (2023-27) of the UNESCO Chair program.

Janet Blake

Janet Blake is Associate Professor and Head of Department of Human Rights, Faculty of Law, Shahid Beheshti University (ex-National University), Tehran, Iran. She is a member of the UNESCO Chair for Human Rights, Peace and Democracy. She is co-editor of the 2022 ASIL prize winning The 2003 UNESCO Intangible Heritage Convention: A Commentary (Oxford University Press, 2020), and contributor to The 1970 UNESCO and 1995 UNIDROIT Conventions on Stolen or Illegally Transferred Cultural Property (Oxford University Press, 2024). Professor Blake is co-organiser of the women and girls and cultural heritage international research collaboration of the second phase (2023-2027) of the UNESCO Chair program.

Alessandro Chechi

Alessandro Chechi is senior lecturer at the University of Geneva, Université Catholique of Lille and Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights. He is a reporter for the International Law in Domestic Courts (ILDC) Oxford University Press project. Dr Chechi is co-editor of The 1970 UNESCO and 1995 UNIDROIT Conventions on Stolen or Illegally Transferred Cultural Property (Oxford University Press, 2024) prepared as part of the first (2019-2022) and second (2023-2027) phases of the UNESCO Chair program.

Yvonne Donders

Yvonne Donders is the Chair of International Human Rights Law and Cultural Diversity in the Department of International and European Law, University of Amsterdam and elected member of the UN Human Rights Committee.  She is member of the Steering Committee of the Netherlands Network of Human Rights Research and Executive Editor of the Netherland Quarterly of Human Rights. Professor Donders is co-organiser of the women and girls and cultural heritage international research collaboration of the second phase (2023-2027) of the UNESCO Chair program.

Francesco Francioni

Francesco Francioni is Professor Emeritus of International Law at the Law Department of the European University Institute, Florence.  He is a member of the Institut de droit international and former Chair of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee.  Professor Francioni is co-editor of the Oxford Handbook on International Cultural Heritage Law (Oxford University Press, 2020) and second edition of The 1972 World Heritage Convention: A Commentary (Oxford University Press, 2023). He is a contributor to The 1970 UNESCO and 1995 UNIDROIT Conventions on Stolen or Illegally Transferred Cultural Property (Oxford University Press, 2024). Professor Francioni is a contributor to the normative instruments on cultural heritage project in the second phase (2023-2027) of the UNESCO Chair program.

Phil Gordon

Phil Gordon is co-chair (2023-2026) of the Australian Federal Government’s Advisory Committee for Indigenous Repatriation and Board Member of Museums and Galleries of NSW. He is the former Head of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Collections and Repatriation program, Australian Museum. Mr Gordon is an adviser on the Indigenous peoples and cultural heritage international research and capacity-building initiative in the second phase (2023-2027) of the UNESCO Chair program.

Alicja Jagielska-Burduk

Alicja Jagielska-Burduk holds the UNESCO Chair on Cultural Property Law at the Faculty of Law and Administration, University of Opole. Professor Jagielska-Burduk is co-host and co-coordinator of the UNESCO-UNITWIN Network on Culture in Emergencies at Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan, Poland. She is a mediator for the UNESCO Intergovernmental Committee for Promoting the Return of Cultural Property to Its Countries of Origin or Its Restitution in Case of Illicit Appropriation and an arbitrator for the Court of Arbitration for Art (CafA), The Hague, and founding editor of the Santander Art&Culture Law Review. She is a contributor to The 1970 UNESCO and 1995 UNIDROIT Conventions on Stolen or Illegally Transferred Cultural Property (Oxford University Press, 2024).

Dalee Sambo Dorough

Dalee Sambo Dorough serves as the Arctic region member (2023-2026) of the UN Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and a former Expert Member and Chairperson of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, Chair of the UN Voluntary Fund for Indigenous Peoples, and International Chair of the Inuit Circumpolar Council. Currently, a Senior Scholar and Special Adviser on Arctic Indigenous Peoples, University of Alaska Anchorage where she was engaged as a Professor of International Relations (2008-2018). She was a contributor to the Oxford Handbook on International Cultural Heritage Law (Oxford University Press, 2020).  Professor Sambo Dorough is co-organiser of the Indigenous peoples and cultural heritage international research and capacity-building initiative as part of the second phase (2023-2027) of the UNESCO Chair program.

Andrzej Jakubowski

Andrzej Jakubowski is Assistant Professor at the Institute of Law Studies of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw (Poland). He is Rapporteur of the ILA Committee on Safeguarding Cultural Heritage in Armed Conflict and Deputy Editor-in-Chief of the Santander Art and Culture Law Review.  He is a mediator for the UNESCO Intergovernmental Committee for Promoting the Return of Cultural Property to Its Countries of Origin or Its Restitution in Case of Illicit Appropriation and an arbitrator for the Court of Arbitration for Art (CafA), The Hague. Professor Jakubowski is co-editor of The 1970 UNESCO and 1995 UNIDROIT Conventions on Stolen or Illegally Transferred Cultural Property (Oxford University Press, 2024).

Claudia Liuzza

Claudia Liuzza is a Rethinking Diplomacy Fellow at the Duke Center for International & Global Studies and affiliated scholar with the UPenn Cultural Heritage Center. She holds a doctorate in Anthropology from Stanford University and Laurea cum Laude in Conservation of Cultural Heritage from the University of Pisa. Dr Liuzza is a collaborator on the World Heritage and Human Rights theme for the global Our World Heritage Initiative of the first phase (2019-2023) of the UNESCO Chair program.

Angela Martins

Angela Martins is the Head of the Division of Culture and Sport for the African Union. She coordinates the AU’s activities and policies in respect of cultural protection, cultural development, promotion of creative and cultural industries and use of culture for integration. Ms Martins is an advisor and collaborator on the standard-setting on movable heritage initiative during the second phase (2023-2027) of the UNESCO Chair program.

Lynn Meskell

Lynn Meskell is Penn Integrates Professor (PIK) at the University of Pennsylvania, where she serves as Richard D Green Professor of Anthropology in the School of Arts and Sciences, Professor in the Department of Historic Preservation, and curator in the Middle East and Asia sections of the Penn Museum, and AD White Professor-at-Large at Cornell University.  She is the founding editor of the Journal of Social Archaeology and a contributor to the Oxford Handbook on International Cultural Heritage Law (Oxford University Press, 2020).  Professor Meskell is an adviser and collaborator on the women and girls and cultural heritage international research project and standard-setting initiatives as part of the second phase (2023-2027) of the UNESCO Chair program.

Robynne Quiggin

Robynne Quiggin is a member of the Wiradyuri nation of central western New South Wales.  She is Pro Vice-Chancellor (Indigenous Leadership and Engagement) and Executive Director, Jumbunna Institute for Indigenous Education and Research, University of Technology Sydney.  She is Chair of the Human Rights Law Centre Board, trustee of the Powerhouse Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences Trust, Sydney and member of the Board of the NAISDA Dance College, and member of the Board of the Australian Sustainable Finance Institute. Professor Quiggin is a collaborator on the Indigenous peoples and cultural heritage international research and capacity-building initiative in the current phase (2023-2073) of the UNESCO Chair Program.

Marina Schneider

Marina Schneider is Principal Legal Officer in the Secretariat of the International Institute for the Unification of Private Law (UNIDROIT). She was the secretary for the UNIDROIT committees on the international protection of cultural property including the Diplomatic Conference for the adoption of the UNIDROIT Convention on Stolen or Illegally Exported Cultural Objects.  She Schneider was an adviser and collaborator on the Oxford Handbook on International Cultural Heritage Law (Oxford University Press 2020) and The 1970 UNESCO and 1995 UNIDROIT Conventions on Stolen or Illegally Transferred Cultural Property (Oxford University Press, 2024). Dr Schneider is an advisor and collaborator on the standard-setting on movable heritage initiative during the second phase (2023-2027) of the UNESCO Chair program and the UNIDROIT Convention Academic Project.

Farida Shaheed

Farida Shaheed is the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education and Executive Director, Shirkat Gah – Women’s Resource Centre (Lahore). She was the inaugural UN Special Rapporteur in the field of Cultural Rights and former member of Pakistan’s National Commission on the Status of Women. Dr Shaheed is an adviser and collaborator for the women and girls and cultural heritage international research collaboration of the second phase (2023-2027) of the UNESCO Chair program.

Maria (Mayee) Warren

Maria (Mayee) Warren served for over 12 years in the Office of the Prosecutor in several international institutions including as Chief of Cabinet at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Director of Legal Operations at the Special Court for Sierra Leone, Chief of Evidence at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.  She has been a consultant for the UNODC East Africa providing advice and support on organisational transformation and change management to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, Kenya. Ms Warren is project manager and adviser on the Cultural Losses, Accountability and Reparations Project of the second phase (2023-2027) of the UNESCO Chair program.

Wang Yunxia

Wang Yunxia holds the UNESCO Chair in Cultural Heritage Law, Director of the Institute of Cultural Heritage Law and Professor Emerita of Law, Renmin University of China, Beijing and Distinguished Professor at Minzu University of China (MUC). Renmin Law School is a partner with Kent Law School, Université Toulouse 1 Capitole and the UTS in the 4 Universities Cultural Heritage network. She was a contributor to the Oxford Handbook on International Cultural Heritage Law (Oxford University Press 2020) and The 1970 UNESCO and 1995 UNIDROIT Conventions on Stolen or Illegally Transferred Cultural Property (Oxford University Press, 2024)Professor Wang is an advisor and collaborator on the standard-setting initiatives during the second phase (2023-2027) of the UNESCO Chair program.

Raquel Zonia Yrigoyen Fajardo

Raquel Zonia Yrigoyen Fajardo is a Professor of Law, Pontifical Catholic University of Peru and founding member of the Instituto Internacional de derecho y Sociedad-IIDS.  Professor Yrigoyen Farajdo is a collaborator on the Indigenous peoples and cultural heritage international research and capacity-building initiative in the second phase (2023-2027) of the UNESCO Chair program.

‘Culture is the essence of being human.’

(UNESCO, 1970)

UTS acknowledges the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation, the Boorooberongal people of the Dharug Nation, the Bidiagal people and the Gamaygal people upon whose ancestral lands our university stands. We would also like to pay respect to the Elders both past and present, acknowledging them as the traditional custodians of knowledge for these lands.

The UNESCO Chair and UTS supports the Uluru Statement from the Heart and its implementation in full.

UNESCO Chair in International Law and Cultural Heritage
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