This specialized online course focuses on protecting heritage from deliberate attack & theft, and on ways to combat these threats while understanding the global networks that are often behind such attacks. The course is presented in partnership with UNICRI, the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute, the global leader in this field.

Specialized Course on Cultural Heritage, Crime and Security: Protecting our Past to Invest in our Future.
Online, 8 – 12 November 2021.
Application deadline: 24 October 2021

The protection of cultural heritage is a critical component within the framework of the United Nations Sustainable Development Agenda, as reported under Goal 11 through which countries have pledged to “make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.” In particular, Target 11.4 of Goal 11 aims to “strengthen efforts to protect and safeguard the world’s cultural and natural heritage.”

On this point, the number of international crimes related to the looting and trafficking of cultural heritage property have significantly grown. Moreover, their links to international criminal activity, including the financing of terrorist groups, are becoming more evident year by year.

The deep concern of the United Nations on this matter is also demonstrated by the adoption in the past decades of diverse conventions reporting these phenomena as critical parts of the international crimes model. The year 2020 marked the 50th anniversary of the UN Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export, and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property.

With these considerations in mind, the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI), in partnership with The American University of Rome, is organizing this, the second edition of the Specialized Course on Cultural Heritage, Crime and Security - Protecting our Past to Invest in our Future.




The course will provide participants with a fundamental understanding of heritage crime and how heritage organizations, law enforcement bodies, and judicial systems are responding to the issue. The course curriculum will include the following topics:

  • Protection of cultural property: the international legal framework
  • Countering looting • Understanding criminal trafficking networks
  • Tourism security plans: the importance of the protection of cultural heritage
  • Armed conflicts, peacebuilding, and the protection of cultural heritage
  • Protecting museums and heritage sites
  • Heritage and stability policing
  • Building communities and supporting development through cultural heritage

This specialized course offers professional, legal, social, scientific, and academic perspectives through live webinars, group discussions, dynamic case studies, individual readings, and practical exercises. The faculty is composed of leading scholars and academics from AUR and other universities, as well as international legal experts from the United Nations system, international and non-governmental organizations, and civil society.

Through a dedicated online platform, participants will have the opportunity to interact with internationally recognized experts and peers from all over the world. This experience will foster intercultural dialogue and promotes a deeper understanding of the most salient issues faced by the international community in relation to cultural heritage, crime, and security.

Course fee: 800 Euro. 

This fees covers tuition, electronic course materials, and access to session recordings.

Further information and how to apply

For detailed information on entry requirements, course methodology, and how to apply please go to