WASHINGTON, DC—Representative Ed Royce, Chair of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, and Rep. Eliot L. Engel, the Committee’s Ranking Member, will deliver remarks at Noon, Wednesday, October 28 at an event focused on the looting and destruction of cultural antiquities in Syria and Iraq by ISIS terrorists.  Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) will also participate in the event.

This event is made possible by the Penn Cultural Heritage Center of the University of Pennsylvania Museum, the Smithsonian Institution, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the U.S. Committee of the Blue Shield.

WHAT:   “Death of History: Witnessing Heritage Destruction in Syria and Iraq”



Remarks by:

Senator Bob Casey

Chairman Ed Royce

Ranking Member Eliot L. Engel


A Panel Discussion Featuring: 

Richard Kurin, Under Secretary for History, Art, and Culture, Smithsonian Institution

 Brian I. Daniels, Director of Research and Program, Penn Cultural Heritage Center, University of Pennsylvania Museum

Patty Gerstenblith, Distinguished Research Professor at DePaul University College of Law and Secretary of the U.S. Committee of the Blue Shield

Salam al-Kuntar, Fellow, Penn Cultural Heritage Center, University of Pennsylvania Museum



Kennedy Caucus Room

Russell Senate Office Building

Washington, DC


WHEN:    Wednesday, October 28, 2015 at Noon – 1:30pm


RSVP:      Penn Cultural Heritage Center of the University of Pennsylvania Museum at pennchc@gmail.com.




The Islamic State, or ISIS, continues to wreak havoc throughout Iraq and Syria, laying a path of death and destruction in its efforts to create a caliphate under its brutal rule. To finance this campaign of violence and bloodshed, ISIS is looting the region’s cultural antiquities and peddling them on the black market. Whatever ISIS terrorists cannot remove, they destroy in an effort to wipe out any trace of culture that differs from their view, resulting in an irreversible loss of cultural heritage for current and future generations. ISIS has destroyed priceless artifacts in Mosul, bulldozed Mesopotamian ruins in the 3,000-year-old city of Nimrud, and beheaded a renowned 83-year-old Syrian scholar.


The ancient cities now facing destruction at the hands of ISIS are considered by many to be the birthplace of modern civilization.  This event will focus on a number of critical questions: How can we ensure these treasures are not trafficked to finance terrorism? What does this cultural heritage represent to the region and the world? And how can the United States and its partners work to preserve it?