Robert Edsel, Preserving Cultural Heritage in Times of Conflict

Author and Founder & President of the Monuments Men Foundation

Day 2 Keynote lecture for the three-day conference at Colgate University, Preserving Cultural Heritage in Times of Conflict, October 18–20, 2017.

Robert Edsel, a former nationally ranked tennis player and pioneering oilman, is recognized today as one of the world’s foremost advocates for art preservation. While living in Florence, he developed a great passion for art and architecture and became curious as to how so many of the monuments and great works of art survived the thefts and devastation of World War II. What began as a question evolved into an impassioned journey to unravel the secrets and heroics of the Monuments Men, the unsung heroes who saved the world’s greatest art and cultural treasures for the benefit of civilization.  Edsel has dedicated the last ten years of his life to the meticulous research of these cultural heroes, which culminated in Edsel’s New York Times best-selling book, The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History.

Conference Overview (See a full schedule here)

The theft of cultural property, art, and antiquities from archaeological sites and public and private collections as a source of criminal and terrorist finance constitutes a tragic and prevalent trend. Cultural property crime increasingly provides a source of terrorist and belligerent finance with rapidly evolving actors, networks, and methods. This conference brings together leading authorities to address key questions. How have past conflicts shaped current response, law, and policy? Who are the key actors and why? What are the connections between cultural property crime, cultural cleansing, and genocide? How can we better combat this growing problem and protect cultural heritage?

This three-day conference is organized by Colgate University National Endowment for the Humanities Distinguished Visiting Associate Professor, Michael Danti and Associate Professor Carolyn Guile. The conference program features diverse approaches to the issue — from diplomatic, policy, and legal perspectives to the scholarly research of art historians and archaeologists — as well as a range of regional and temporal contexts.


Michael Danti, Dept. of Classics,, 315.228.6041

Carolyn Guile, Dept. of Art and Art History,, 315.228.7907

Thursday, October 19, 2017 at 4:15pm to 5:45pm

Little Hall, 105, Golden Auditorium


Arts, Global and international, Academics, Arts and Humanities, Social Sciences

Event Type

Lectures, colloquia, seminars, etc.

Art and Art History Department
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