On 25 and 26 October 2019, Dr. Markus Ritter, the Head of Mission of the European Union Advisory Mission in Iraq (EUAM Iraq) and Luigi Spadari, the Senior Strategic Advisor for Cultural Heritage Protection, participated in the International Conference in Rome organized for the 50th anniversary of the Italian Carabinieri Cultural Heritage Protection (TPC) program. The TPC is the oldest police department in the world created specifically for the protection of cultural heritage and operates internationally with its "Blue Helmets of Culture".
The event, held at the Carabinieri Officers School, took place over two days: the first day focused on the main national and international institutions in the field of cultural heritage protection, and the key players therein; the second day focused on technical and operational topics, with law enforcement experts specialized in the protection of cultural heritage in various countries of the world in attendance.
Dr. Markus Ritter described in his presentation EUAM Iraq’s efforts in assisting the Iraqi authorities in tackling illicit trafficking and destruction of cultural heritage goods, as part of its advisory efforts on countering terrorism and organized crime. EUAM Iraq is the only Mission of its kind that has a specialized Senior Strategic Advisor specialized in cultural heritage protection. Protecting cultural values, enhancing the Iraqi inheritance and preventing the root causes of extremism is a key factor in the stabilization efforts in Iraq.
In addition, EUAM Iraq has organized two international workshops regarding the protection of cultural heritage in Baghdad in 2018 and 2019, and a third one will take place in the near future.
While in Rome, Dr. Markus Ritter also visited the Carabinieri TPC Headquarters and met with the Commander, Brigadier General Roberto Riccardi. They discussed Iraqi cultural heritage protection and a continuation of the good working relationship.