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 cooperation with The American University of Rome (AUR), is organizing the third edition of the Specialized Course on Cultural Heritage, Crime and Security - Protecting our Past to Invest in our Future which will be delivered online, from 7 to 11 November 2022.

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 is likely to 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, peace-building and the protection of cultural heritage
  • Protecting museums and heritage sites
  • Heritage and stability policing
  • Building communities and supporting development through cultural heritage

The 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, so to build lasting professional relationships.

This experience fosters 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.

Relevant information

Course calendar


     7-11 November 2022         



Course deadlines

Application deadline

     23 October 2022

Confirmation of acceptance

     24 October 2022

Payment deadline

     26 October 2022


1. Entry requirements

The course, organized by the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI), in cooperation with The American University of Rome (AUR), is designed for university graduates in Law, Political Science, International Relations, Economics, Social Science, Cultural Heritage, Museum Studies, Archaeology, and other relevant disciplines. It is also addressed to young professionals working in governmental institutions, local authorities, international and non-governmental organizations, museums, heritage sites, and cultural institutions seeking to deepen their understanding of the most salient issues faced by the international community in relation to cultural heritage, crime, and security.

Candidates must meet the following minimum requirements:

  • Hold a three-year university degree issued by an internationally recognized university in one of the aforementioned areas;
  • Have a very good working knowledge of English.

Applications from students who expect to graduate at the end of the 2022/23 academic year will also be considered.

2. Course Methodology

This course is delivered online. It combines live webinars in our virtual classroom, led by subject matter experts, with self-paced activities and interactive group discussions.

The live webinars are conducted on a dedicated online platform. Participants need a computer (recommended) or a mobile device with audio and video capabilities, a headset with microphone to connect to the audio through the computer or mobile device, as well as a reliable internet connection. We recommend accessing audio through the computer. No special software is required. Upon acceptance to the course, participants will be provided with the information to access the platform.

The live webinars are from 2:30 pm to 6:00 pm Rome-time (8:30 am to 12:00 pm New York-time), from Monday to Friday. Kindly note that recorded webinars will be available upon request.

3. How to apply

  • Application deadline: please complete and send the application form to by 23 October 2022
  • Confirmation of acceptance: the results of the selection process will be communicated via e-mail, within 5 working days following receipt of the application, and no later than by 24 October 2022.
  • Payment deadline: full payment has to be finalized within 1 week following confirmation of acceptance, and no later than 26 October 2022 (i.e. candidates should provide UNICRI with proof of payment via E-mail to

Application 2022.doc

4. Registration Fees

The registration fee amounts to 800 Euro.

Registration fee includes:

  • Tuition
  • Course materials (electronic)
  • Sessions recorded and made available for later viewing (on request)

5. Cancellation and Refunds

As per our general policy, in the case of cancellation of your participation, registration fees will not be refunded for any reason.

Given the current exceptional circumstances, however, full refund of the registration fees will be guaranteed should the cancellation be linked to the Corona Virus crisis (i.e. health problems of the participant or spouse/registered partner/children or parents). Evidence of such grounds should be provided when requesting a refund.

6. Certificate of participation

Upon attendance of all live webinars and completion of the course activities and assignments, participants will receive a United Nations and The American University of Rome certificate of participation.