The Conference on International Cooperation in the Restitution and Protection of Cultural Heritage took place on April 7 and 8, 2010 in Cairo. Over 20 countries from Latin America, Asia, Africa, and the Mediterranean attended. This meeting, the first of its kind, brought together countries that have been victimized by the antiquities trade to talk about return and restitution. As I observed in January, this meeting represents a new phase in the decolonization of heritage.
New Tang Dynasty Television reported on the conference, including an interview with the Syrian delegation. As the clip from Hawass suggests, one of the main aims of the meeting was to further increase the pressure on European and American museums to stop purchasing illegal antiquities.
Two days, of course, was not enough time for the participants to agree on a common platform (though seven countries added items to a repatriation wish list). As Paul Barford notes, it is unclear exactly what will come of the conference, though it is clearly a historic step. Zahi Hawass would like to make the meetings an annual event, and the next one is tentatively scheduled for Greece next year.
Last week Kwame Opuku published an assessment of the conference at museum-security.org, which is worth reading in its entirety (via SAFE).
See the above page for more, together with the relevant links.