Cultural heritage is a casualty of war. When the goal is to destroy families, communities, and sometimes even entire cultures, adversaries and extremists target the elements of heritage; historic structures, works of art, sacred places, and treasured objects. When archaeologists and heritage professionals help military personnel learn to identify, respect, and protect the heritage of a community at risk there is perhaps a greater opportunity for recovery and peace. For the past eight years, NATO, in partnership with members of the academic community, has been studying recent conflicts; examining the tragic lessons of heritage lost and, more hopefully, the lessons of heritage saved.  This research is helping us all to better understand the critical role heritage plays in rebuilding healthy, secure, and optimistic communities in the aftermath of conflict or disaster. This lecture will explore new approaches, case studies and examples of working with the military on our shared goals of saving heritage and building peace.   

Dr. Laurie Rush is a Visiting Professor on the MA in Sustainable Cultural Heritage at AUR. She is an Anthropologist and Archaeologist who has served as a US Army civilian for over twenty years managing Cultural Resources at Fort Drum, NY.  and serving as Native American Affairs Liaison for the 10th Mountain Division and Fort Drum.

Dr. Rush was military liaison for return of the Mesopotamian City of Ur to the Iraqi People in 2009, represented US Central Command at Environmental Shuras in Kabul in 2010 and analyzed cultural property protection lessons learned from the Iraq and Afghan conflicts for the US Central Command Environmental Program.  On behalf of CENTCOM she participated in key leader engagements across the Middle East including Jordanian partnership programs, Eagle Resolve and Bright Star exercises.  Dr. Rush just completed co-directing an international panel developing cultural property protection policy and doctrine for NATO.

As editor of “Archaeology, Cultural Property, and the Military,” co-author of “The Carabinieri TPC; Saving the World’s Heritage,” and author of numerous articles and book chapters, Dr. Rush is internationally recognized as a specialist concerning the importance of military education and operations planning for cultural property protection in crisis areas. Recently she has also been recognized by the media as a modern “Monuments Woman,” is featured in the new book, “Lives in Ruins” and is a Board Member of the US Committee of the Blue Shield.

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