International Cultural Heritage Law

Note COVID-19: We are planning to offer this course in a blended format (in-person and online) and are working to ensure that the in-person format can be done safely and in line with government guidelines.
A final decision regarding the in-person format will be determined by March 2021 depending on the evolution of the Coronavirus pandemic.


The summer school is organized by the Art-Law Centre and the UNESCO Chair in the International Law of the Protection of Cultural Heritage of the University of Geneva.

The summer school aims to develop the students’ awareness and general understanding of the main substantive themes of international cultural heritage law, namely: the trade in cultural objects; the restitution of stolen or looted artworks; the protection of cultural property in the event of armed conflict.

The lecturers will examine the legal instruments adopted by UNESCO and other international organizations, such as the ‘Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict’, the ‘Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property’, and the ‘Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage’.

In order to offer an up-to-date glance at international cultural heritage law, the lecturers will describe its complex relationship with other fields of law – namely general international law and human rights law – and with the issue of dispute settlement. Moreover, the lecturers will provide an overview of the different ideological positions of the relevant stakeholders and of the risks and liabilities in the art trade.

Target Audience

The course welcomes applications from upper-year undergraduates, master’s degree students and PhD candidates in law and all other faculties, including art history, archaeology, sociology and anthropology. Practitioners, non-specialists and art enthusiasts may also apply.

Course Credits

Equivalence of 3 ECTS.

Students will be provided with a Certificate of Completion for their course if they satisfy attendance.

Please note that this is not an official University of Geneva transcript, as Geneva Summer Schools courses are not accredited University of Geneva courses. It is the students’ responsibility to validate their course for credit at their home university before commencing the summer school, as specified in our Regulations.


Please note: Changes to the draft program may be made at any time prior to the start of the course.

Early Bird Deadline 28 February 2021:

1000 CHF*

Final Deadline 30 May 2021:

1800 CHF*

Special price for UNIGE students:

300 CHF*

Free places available for 3 UNIGE students (excluded the compulsary 100 CHF of administrative fee). UNIGE students will be notified at the end of April.

TBC for UNIGE students, starting from the fourth applicant

*Including 100 CHF non refundable administrative fees

Course Directors:

Professor Marc-André Renold

Faculty of Law
University of Geneva

Marc-André Renold (Dr. iur., LL.M.) studied at the Universities of Geneva and Basel in Switzerland and at Yale University in the United States.

He is Professor of art and cultural heritage law at the University of Geneva and the Director of its Art-Law Centre. He is also Attorney-at-law, Member of the Geneva Bar and is of counsel to a major Swiss- German law firm. His areas of practice are among others art and cultural heritage law, intellectual property and public and private international law. Marc-André Renold has been Visiting Professor at the Faculté Jean Monnet of the University of Paris Sud (2006-2007) and at the University of Lausanne (2008-2009). He has also lectured at the Hague Academy of International Law (Spring 2008) and the Institute for Mediterranean Heritage in Slovenia (summers of 2009 and 2010). He has been guest lecturer at the University Jean Moulin in Lyon, the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva, as well as the Duke-Geneva Institute in Transnational Law.

He is the author or co-author of several publications in the field of international and comparative art and cultural heritage law and has been, since its inception, an editor of the “Studies in Art Law” series (25 volumes published to date). He is the co-editor and co-author of Culture, Art and Law: Swiss and International Law (2009), the leading Swiss handbook written in German on the law of art and culture.

Dr. Alessandro Chechi

UNESCO Chair Senior Researcher
University of Geneva

Alessandro Chechi (PhD European University Institute; LLM University College London; JD University of Siena) is a Senior Researcher and Teaching Assistant (maitre-assistant) at the Faculty of Law of the University of Geneva (Art-Law Centre). He is also lecturer in Public International Law at the Université Catholique of Lille (Faculty of Law), reporter for the “International Law in Domestic Courts” Oxford University Press project, and serves as a member of the editorial boards of the “Italian Yearbook of International Law” and of the “Santander Art and Culture Law Review”. He is also member of the Société international pour la recherché sur le droit du patrimoine culturel et le droit de l’art (ISCHAL), and of the Art Law Section of the International Dispute Resolution Group.

Alessandro was consultant for the European Committee on Crime Problems (CDPC) of the Council of Europe for the revision of the Convention on Offences Relating to Cultural Property (December 2014–June 2017).

Alessandro is the author of “The Settlement of International Cultural Heritage Disputes” (Oxford University Press, 2014) and of other several articles and book chapters. For a complete list see: Currently, his main research areas cover international law, cultural heritage law, dispute settlement, international organizations, migration law, human rights and the law of international immunities.

Teaching Faculty:


Professor Riccardo Pavoni

Riccardo Pavoni is Associate Professor of International and European Law in the Department of Law of the University of Siena since 2005. In 2014, he was awarded the Italian National Scientific Qualification as full professor of International and European Union Law. He is currently academic coordinator of the EU-funded Jean Monnet Module on European Union Law and Sustainable Development (2017-2020).

He serves as co-director of the Tulane-Siena Institute for International Law, Cultural Heritage and the Arts. He has been a visiting professor at various institutions, including the Universidad Autónoma de Bucaramanga, Tulane University School of Law, Charles University in Prague, and the University of Amsterdam. He has also taught courses at many academic institutions, including at the European University Institute, the University of Geneva, and Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (Belo Horizonte, Brazil).

He is a member of the Board of Editors of the Italian Yearbook of International Law and a member of the Editorial Board of the Oxford Reports on International Law in Domestic Courts. He is a member of the European Society of International Law (ESIL) and of the Italian Society of International Law and European Union Law (SIDI).

His publications and research activities cover various areas of public international law and European Union law, such as environmental law and human rights, cultural heritage law, the law of international immunities, and international and EU law in domestic legal systems.

Professor Matthias Weller


Matthias Weller is Professor for civil law, art and cultural property law at the University of Bonn and one of the two Directors of the Bonn Institute for German and International Civil Procedure. He studied at the Universities of Heidelberg and Cambridge (UK, St. John’s College), and at the Harvard Law School (Joseph Story Fellow of Private International Law). He was Research Fellow at the Institute for Comparative Law, the Conflict of Laws and International Business Law at the University of Heidelberg from 2002 to 2010, and Prize-winning PhD supervised by Erik Jayme on the public policy control of international choice of forum agreements. He participated in the establishment of the German Institute for Art and Law IFKUR e.V. in Heidelberg in 2006, and since then in the organisation of the annual “Heidelberg Art Law Conference”. He has more than 200 publications and nearly 100 presentations on private law, art and cultural property law, private international law, international civil litigation and arbitration as well as transnational commercial law.

Professor Amy Strecker

Amy Strecker is an Associate Professor at the Sutherland School of Law, University College Dublin (Ireland). Her research focuses primarily on the interplay between landscape and law, including cultural heritage, environment, property and human rights. Before joining UCD, Amy worked at Leiden University, first at the Faculty of Archaeology where she taught international cultural heritage law and was part of an ERC Synergy project on the impact of colonial encounters on the Caribbean (Nexus1492), and later at the Faculty of Governance and Global Affairs, where she taught various courses on public international law. At Leiden she established the annual international summer school on ‘Cultural Heritage, Human Rights and International Law’ with the Grotius Centre for International Legal Studies and the Centre for Global Heritage and Development, in partnership with UNESCO. Amy is the author of Landscape Protection in International Law (Oxford University Press, 2018), co-editor of Heritage and Rights of Indigenous Peoples (Leiden University Press, 2016) and author of several book chapters and articles on the role of law in heritage and landscape governance. She was recently awarded a €1.5 million ERC starting grant for her project PROPERTY[IN]JUSTICE, which will scrutinize the ways in which international law facilitates spatial justice and injustice through its conceptualization of property rights.

Romney Manassa, USA, International Cultural Heritage Law Summer School 2019

The program is a wonderful opportunity to broaden one’s horizons both academically and intellectually.



“My summer school at Geneva was among the most rewarding experiences I have ever had in my seven years of secondary education. Not only were the courses and lectures engaging, but I had the opportunity to meet students from all over the world while exploring the hidden gem of Geneva. The program is a wonderful opportunity to broaden one’s horizons both academically and intellectually."




Rosa Villa, USA, International Cultural Heritage Law Summer School 2019

The visiting lecturers at the GSS are top-notch

The GSS in International Cultural Heritage Law gave me the opportunity to study the complex interplay between law, politics, and cultural heritage. The program broadened my understanding about international institutions, values, and beliefs and the importance of keeping an open mind when approaching global issues. I highly recommend this program to those interested in cultures, art law, or are interested in meeting policy makers involved in humanitarian organizations like UNESCO and UNIDROIT. The visiting lecturers at the GSS are top-notch, and show that it takes courageous minds to significantly shape policy in challenging times and spaces.


Felicitas Hartig, Austria, International Cultural Heritage Law Summer School 2018

DO IT! You are going to love it!

I attended this course in June 2018 and loved it thoroughly. My advice to everyone who is not convinced wether to apply or not: DO IT! You are going to love it! The classes are very interesting, that show different aspects of cultural heritage law.

The professors are fantastic and also the guest speakers are very good- I was excited and looking forward to all lectures. I am thankful for the knowledge and the most recent news and upcoming changes we received.

Geneva is a very beautiful and fun city you can enjoy with great classmates from all over the world that quickly became good friends. I wish I could travel back in time to experience this 2 weeks again."

Vanesa Menendez, The Netherlands, International Cultural Heritage Law Summer School 2018

I spent two of the most wonderful weeks of my academic career

The GSS was a great experience, not only because I was able to broaden my knowledge about International Cultural Heritage Law, but also because I could meet amazing people with my same interests.

Lawyers, archaeologists and professionals in the field of art met and share their experiences from different perspectives. Indeed, the programme was complete and detailed enough to embrace and deal with all these backgrounds. In an exciting environment and with the great organization of the University of Geneva and the various speakers, I spent two of the most wonderful weeks of my academic career.

I would recommend it to anyone who is passionate about the topic and is looking forward to building new connections with people worldwide.

Submitted by J.P. Anglin - Bonn Germany - | April 25, 2017

Unexpected experience with a wealth of information

The unexpectedness of finding this Program advertised on line, which would respond to issues of great interest to me was quite remarkable. Additionally, the content was rich to the extent that at times it seemed even beyond a summer Program. In sum an enormous amount of material was covered on a wide range of topics. Topping this, was the level of professors that lectured and the material and insights they gave. The organization of all this could not be faulted.

Finally, the atmosphere was very congenial, very international with a vibrancy that made it a fun learning experience. Switzerland is a beautiful country so the chance for coupling this with sight-seeing and doing doing tourist things is also there.

This was an experience that I would recommend. (GoAbroad Review)


Submitted by Paul - Paris France - | March 24, 2017

Life changing

This week, in 2017, I signed my contract working with UNESCO in cultural property protection. To sum it up: without the experience in Geneva with the GSS this would not have been possible at all. They offered a great deal of overview, going in-depth with topics that interested the participants and helped students before and way after the class - even years later - with their inquiries. Truly amazing, I am grateful. (GoAbroad Review)

Submitted by Georgie - Florence Italy Universita Degli Studi Di Firenze | March 26, 2017


I took part in the International Cultural

Heritage Law course at the Geneva Summer School in 2016 and confirm that the course was very efficiently run with great, thought provoking speakers and professors. As a student I felt well looked after at all times. Taking part in this course was a fantastic experience which I would happily recommended to all. (GoAbroad Review)

Submitted by Jawida - Jenin United Kingdom University of Kent | March 24, 2017

Fruitful experience

It was a unique experience to me in terms of materials before and within the course, the speakers, the helpful assistance of the team and the atmosphere in total was perfect. I advise my friends to attend whether this course or other courses which I met people and were happy from them. I wish to come back one day. (GoAbroad Review)



Marius Müller

International Cultural Heritage Law

Cultural heritage constitutes worldwide a source of remembrance, understanding, identity, dialogue and cohesion. Consequently, its protection is a a common responsibility, liberated from “national” perspectives. As a law student who studied art history for the bachelor degree, I was promptly fascinated by the contents of the GSS International Cultural Hertiage Law. My application was definitely the right decision:

My time at the University of Geneva not only provided me with a broad knowledge but also an even greater enthusiasm for the objectives of legal heritage protection. Highly regarded and very motivated experts with international background and from the different branches of International Heritage Law made the two weeks a unique academic experience.

The city of Geneva, furthermore, is a unique cultural destination. Post tenebras lux - still is the motto of the Canton of Geneva and invites to consider its past and historic impacts. Don’t forget to visit the Bibliotheca Bodmeriana close to the city center.

But thats not everything! During the weeks of my Summer School I got to know numerous and most interesting people from all over the world who share the interest for our (world) heritage. Sharing Heritage furthermore is the slogan of the upcoming European Cultural Heritage Year 2018. On this occasion and together with the new friends I met at the University of Geneva we established the European Students’ Association for Cultural Heritage (ESACH) as a cross-border initiative. Supported by Europa Nostra and the German National Committee for Monument Preservation we will contribute to this special year from our universities to strengthen the awareness of young people regarding the protection of the cultural heritage.

In short: don’t miss this opportunity of a great academic experience with the extraordinary team of the Art-Law Centre and of the UNESCO Chair in the International Law of the Protection of Cultural Heritage in this culturally most interesting part of Europe! (Marius Müller, University of Passau)

Paul Fabel

International Cultural Hertiage Law

Have you ever dreamed about getting to know like-minded people, interested and highly motivated in the same area of expertise? Are you looking for direct contact to internationally well-known experts, both professors and professionals from the field? Do you like studying hard but also enjoy two weeks of a lovely Swiss summer while at the same time getting to know a multi-cultural, international environment? Then Geneva is the place to be and the Summer Schools the programme you want to be part of!

My name is Paul, I am a Mercator Fellow on Cultural Heritage Protection and attended the Cultural Heritage Law class in 2014. A remarkable experience that made write my Master's thesis in this field, work with UNESCO in Paris and later UNIDROIT in Rome. I can definitely say “the Summer School has changed my life”! I enjoy participating at the Art Law Center’s regular events and conferences and am happy to be part of the GSS family today. Are you ready for an extraordinary experience? Well then, here you go... (Paul Fabel, Mercator Fellowship on International Affairs, Germany).
Geneva Summer Schools

International Affairs
Université de Genève
40 Bd du Pont-d'Arve
CH-1211 Genève 4