Return of Cultural Objects: The Athens Conference




International Council of Museums (ICOM)


United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)



Available in

English, French, Chinese


This issue of the journal publishes the proceedings of an important conference intended to take forward the debate on the issue of the return and restitution of cultural property. It can be accessed through the website of the through the digital library of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

Held in Athens on 17 and 18 March 2008, at the initiative of the Government of Greece, the conference brought together key actors to advance practice on this issue. The proceedings of this follow the format of the conference. The first chapter is devoted to the presentation and exchange of successful experiences in the return of cultural property. The following four chapters reflect current debates on the main legal, ethical, diplomatic and scientific components relating to this issue. A summary of the conference, together with its conclusions, is presented at the end of the final chapter.

Some of the articles published in this issue of the journal are:

  • Mediation and cultural diplomacy
  • Museums and restorative justice: Heritage, repatriation and cultural education
  • Preventing looting through the return of looted archaeological objects
  • Artistic heritage and the return of masterpieces
  • Unwanted antiquities