The Walk of Truth organisation and University College London (UCL) proudly announce an important new partnership with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the two organisations. The partnership will allow Walk of Truth and UCL to work closely together to promote research, training and education around the protection of cultural heritage globally. There will be an emphasis on driving awareness of the role cultural heritage plays in the larger fight for human rights, and on the illegal transport and trade of antiquities and works of art around the world. Despite five major international conventions signed in the past 20 years to address art trafficking and cultural heritage protection, the black market for art and antiquities continues to plague the heritage, economy and wellbeing of countries around the world.

To address this and as part of their agreement, UCL and Walk of Truth will establish a research centre in Nicosia, Cyprus with an office in London. It will be a leading centre of excellence for the research and development of methods to harness technology, education and innovation to better document, screen and flagpotential instances of illegal trade. The centre will also increase awareness of cultural heritage and enhance the effectiveness of law enforcement at protecting cultural heritage.

Walk of Truth and UCL will also jointly leverage their substantial knowledge and experience to provide counsel and guidance to governments and NGOs such as UNESCO, the International Council of Museums (ICOM) and the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), as well as to private and public entities including universities, research centres, museums and cultural entities. Such counsel will address issues related to the protection and promotion of culture and cultural heritage, including how to identify the illegal trade of art and antiquities, how to promote culturally responsible tourism and how to support partnerships between disparate organisations to drive better law enforcement internationally.

Ms Tasoula Hadjitofi, author and founder of the Walk of Truth, said: “This is a very important and special agreement between UCL and Walk of Truth. It will facilitate research and training related to my extensive personal archives and will allow the world to better use the repatriation of stolen antiquities of Cyprus as a model for other hotspot areas where human rights and cultural heritage are being violated throughout Europe, the Middle East and Africa.” Dr Mark Altaweel, Vice-Dean for Innovation, Enterprise and Knowledge Exchange in the Faculty of Social and Historical Sciences at UCL, said: “This partnership will not only bring educational and research benefits to the UCL community and the new research centre’s staff, but it will also be a key contributor to UCL’s efforts to promote public/private partnerships and to define and develop partnerships with the third sector.”

About Walk of Truth

Walk of Truth is an independent, non-governmental organization built on 30 years of pioneering work in the field of protecting cultural heritage and recovering and repatriating antiquities looted from Cyprus. It aims to counter the ongoing destruction and looting of cultural heritage by engaging the public and to spread awareness of the value of our shared patrimony and the responsibility of each of us to protect it. Walk of Truth seeks to engender a global sense of custodianship among ordinary citizens for their monuments and their history, and to do whatever possible to ensure crimes against heritage are investigated and brought to justice. Its vision is a world where cultural heritage is cherished by all as a common resource belonging to all mankind and our shared legacy to future generations.

In addition to research and education, Walk of Truth is actively engaged in tracing and recovering looted artefacts from zones of conflict. It also operates an advocacy and lobbying mechanism to raise awareness among national and international legislators and law enforcement authorities of the destruction and illegal trafficking in cultural heritage. Walk of Truth is a Dutch registered foundation and was awarded ANBI status in 2011.

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