Saving the Past
The Quest to Combat Cultural Racketeering
Culture has become a weapon of war and a fundraising tool for violent extremist organizations across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Millions of archaeological, historic, and religious sites in the MENA region are under threat from organized plunder or destruction from armed conflict and violent extremist organizations. This lecture will discuss how the illicit trade in antiquities is funding terrorism in the Middle East and beyond and share what can be done to halt this dark trade.
About the Speaker
Deborah Lehr is the founder and Chairman of the Antiquities Coalition. She leads a diverse team of experts in the fight against the looting and trafficking of cultural heritage by organized crime and terrorists. Their work focuses in the Middle East and Asia.
Deborah also serves as the Chief Executive Officer of Basilinna, a strategic business consulting firm focused on China and the Middle East. And she is a Senior Fellow of the Paulson Institute, founded by former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson.
Previously, Deborah served as Senior Advisor to the Chairman and CEO of Merrill Lynch, and was a Senior Managing Director at the New York Stock Exchange focused on emerging markets. She also was President of Stonebridge China. Prior to joining Stonebridge, Lehr was a partner at Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw. Deborah has also served in government, as a lead negotiator at the US Trade Representative for China's WTO Accession, a Director of Asian Affairs at the National Security Council, and on export control and trade policy issues at the Department of Commerce.
Deborah is a member of the International Advisory Council of The National Geographic Society, the Board of the Archaeological Institute of America, International Advisory Board of the London School of Economics, the Cox Business School Advisory Board at Southern Methodist University, and the Advisory Board of SAIS at Johns Hopkins University.
Deborah has lived and studied around the world, including China, England, France, and Germany. Her writings appear regularly in the Huffington Post, and have been published in Foreign Affairs, the South China Morning Post, China Daily, US News and World Report, and Caixin Magazine. And she has appeared on television to speak about antiquities trafficking and about China.