Programme Overview

International Cultural Heritage Law

Registration for summer 2022 closed

This 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.

Registration for summer 2022 closed

Professionals : CHF 1,600

External students (*): CHF 1,300

UNIGE students (*): CHF 250

(*) Bachelor and master’s degree-seeking students only. The tuition fees for lifelong learning students and Ph.D. candidates are subject to employment status.

Course Directors:

Professor Marc-André Renold

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

Alessandro Chechi (PhD, European University Institute; LLM University College London; JD University of Siena) is a lecturer (chargé de cours suppléant) at the Faculty of Law of the University of Geneva (Art-Law Centre). He is also lecturer at the Faculty of Law of the Université Catholique of Lille and at the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights, and reporter for the International Law in Domestic Courts (ILDC) Oxford University Press project. Alessandro is member of the editorial boards of the Italian Yearbook of International Law and of the Santander Art and Culture Law Review. He 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. Alessandro is the author of the book The Settlement of International Cultural Heritage Disputes (Oxford University Press, 2014) and several other publications in edited books and journals. For a complete list see Currently, his main research areas cover international cultural heritage law, international law, international dispute settlement, transitional justice, international organizations, human rights and the law of international immunities.

Teaching Faculty

Anne Laure Bandle

Anne Laure Bandle, lawyer, teaches art and philanthropy at the University of Geneva, copyright, art and entertainment law at the University of Fribourg, and cultural heritage and art law at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). Moreover, Anne Laure is the director of the Art Law Foundation, a foundation that aims to promote and coordinate the work and research in the field of art law. She is an attorney-at-law at the lawfirm Borel & Barbey, Geneva and advises individuals and corporations in all aspects related to works of art, entertainment, copyright, contracts, estate planning, foundations and trusts.

Donna Yates

Donna Yates is an Associate Professor in the Department of Criminal Law and Criminology at Maastricht University. Her research is focused on the looting, trafficking, and illicit sale of cultural objects and she has published extensively on this topic. She is a founding member of the Trafficking Culture research consortium ( which conducts evidenced based research on the transnational illicit trade in antiquities. Her current project, funded by the European Research Council, is called "Trafficking Transformations: Objects as Agents in Criminal Networks" and focuses on the criminal networks that grow around collectable antiquities, wildlife, and fossils.

Irina Tarsis

Irina Tarsis, Esq. is an art historian and a commercial attorney specializing in art, cultural heritage and nonprofit governance legal issues. Director of Legal Affairs for the Artists Rights Society and the Founding Director of the Center for Art Law, a New York-based nonprofit organization, she works with artists, their heirs as well as collectors and students in different arts-related fields. She publishes and consults on a range of issues including due diligence, copyright infringement and fair use, artists’ rights, restitution, authenticity and provenance research. She works with creators and curators to assist with legal protections, encourage economic growth and positive social impact. Currently based in Zürich, Tarsis serves on the faculty of the Fashion Institute of Technology. Previously, she has taught at Columbia University, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law as well as the European Shoah Legacy Institute. Her publications include: “Moral Rights and Droite de Suite,” The Art Law Review (Winter 2021 and Winter 2022) and “20th Century Shadows over the 21st Century Art Field: Title Disputes Arising From the Soviet Nationalization and Sales of Cultural Property” (Oct. 2016).

Kristin Hausler

Kristin Hausler is the Dorset Senior Research Fellow and Director of the Center for International Law at the British Institute of International and Comparative Law (London). She is also a consultant, advising on cultural heritage matters and on the ways to engage non-state actors on heritage protection. She has provided training on heritage protection to armed groups and police forces. She regularly speaks on cultural heritage, including at the United Nations, and has also taught cultural heritage law at various institutions, including Georgetown University, the University of Florida, or Leiden University. Before joining the Institute, she worked on a project repatriating Ancestral remains to Indigenous communities at the Museum of Anthropology in Vancouver. Before becoming a lawyer, Kristin studied art history at Christie’s in New York and worked in museums.

Hirad Abtahi

Abtahi_ICHL_2022_image.jpgHirad Abtahi (PhD in International Law, Leiden University, Diplôme d'études approfondies de droit international, Université de Strasbourg, France) is currently Chef de Cabinet at the Presidency of the International Criminal Court (“ICC”). Previously, he acted as the Chief of the Registry Legal Advisory Services Section. Prior to joining the ICC, Hirad Abtahi served the Milošević trial chamber at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (“ICTY”). Earlier on, he worked for the International Commission of Jurists on questions relating to the conditions of detention of persons detained at the ICTY’s United Nations Detention Centre, the enforcement of the ICTY’s sentences of imprisonment and the relocation of ICTY witnesses in third countries. Hirad Abtahi has widely lectured in English, French and Persian, including at The Hague Academy of International Law and at Sciences Po’s Paris School of International Affairs. He is the author of many books, book chapters and articles on public international law, international criminal law, international human rights law and transitional justice, including a two volume book gathering the Genocide Convention’s travaux préparatoires, co-authored with Dr Philippa Webb. Hirad Abtahi serves on the Boards of the International Criminal Law Review and the Forum for International Criminal and Humanitarian Law. He is a member of the Société Française pour le droit international and the European Society of International Law.

Yaniv Benhamou

Ana Filipa Vrdoljak

Ana Filipa Vrdoljak is the UNESCO Chair in International Law and Cultural Heritage, and Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Technology Sydney, and Visiting Professor, Renmin Law School. She is the author of International Law, Museums and the Return of Cultural Objects (Cambridge University Press, 2006, forthcoming 2nd edition 2022), and editor of Oxford Handbook on International Cultural Heritage Law with Francesco Francioni (Oxford University Press 2020). She is President of the International Cultural Property Society (U.S.) and Management Committee, International Journal of Cultural Property (Cambridge University Press). She holds a Doctor of Philosophy (in Law) from the University of Sydney


Alexandra Xanthaki

Alexandra Xanthaki is Professor of Laws at Brunel University, London, United Kingdom, and UN Special Rapporteur in the Field of Cultural Rights. Alexandra has a law degree from Athens University, Greece, a Master’s degree in 'Human Rights and Emergency Law' from Queen's University, Belfast, and a PhD from Keele University, UK. She has taught civil servants and lawyers in several parts of the world, including the Ukraine, Vietnam, South Africa and Malaysia. Alexandra is a Senior Fellow at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (London) and member of the Summer Human Rights Faculty in Oxford. A leading expert on cultural rights, Alexandra has over 50 publications varying from cultural rights of minorities and indigenous peoples to cultural diversity, cultural heritage, balancing cultural rights with other rights and interests, and multicultural aspects of international human rights law.

Steven Gallagher

Steven Gallagher is Professor of Practice in Law, Associate Dean (Academic & Student Affairs), The Faculty of Law, The Chinese University of Hong Kong. He was called to the Bar of England and Wales in 2006. Steven is an arbitrator for the Court of Arbitration for Art. In 2013, Steven introduced the Principles of Art, Antiquities, Cultural Heritage and the Law course to the LLM programme. Steven’s publications include articles in international journals on property and heritage law. His most recent book publications include Protecting Built Heritage in Hong Kong (Springer, September 2021). Steven’s research interests include art, antiquities, cultural heritage and the law, Chinese custom and law, and innovative teaching methods, including using superhero films, to teach law. Before Steven became a lawyer, he was an antiques dealer.

Valéry Freland

Valéry Freland has been the Executive Director of ALIPH since 1 September 2018. A French career diplomat, Valéry Freland holds a law degree from Panthéon-Sorbonne University and is a graduate of Sciences Po (Paris) and the École Nationale d'Administration (ENA-class Léopold Sedar Senghor). He began his career as a legal advisor at the Superior Council of the Audiovisual (1994-1997) before joining the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs. After graduating from the ENA in 2004, he joined the Quai d’Orsay where he successively held the positions of Senior Officer at the Division of the European Union, in charge of the EU budget (2004-2007), Culture and Audiovisual Advisor at the Permanent Representation of France to the European Union in Brussels, during the French presidency of the EU (2007-2009), then as Deputy Director in charge of audiovisual and communication technologies (2009). He was then appointed as Diplomatic Advisor to the French Minister of Culture and Communication, Frédéric Mitterrand (2009-2010), then as Cooperation and Culture Advisor at the French Embassy in Tunisia (2010-2013), and finally as Deputy Director of Culture, University and Research at the Quai d’Orsay (2013-2015). Before joining ALIPH, he served as Consul General of France in Boston, USA (2015-2018). Valéry Freland is Knight of the French Order of Arts and Letters (2010).

Francesco Romani

Francesco Romani is a researcher specialized in international cultural heritage law and the laws of armed conflict. As postdoctoral researcher and principal investigator at the Art-Law Centre of the University of Geneva, he has recently completed a project titled ‘The Temporal Dimension of Sovereignty in Light of the Restitution of Cultural Artefacts’ (funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation). He has lectured on international responsibility and litigation at the Lille Catholic University in France and worked for the ICRC’s Customary International Humanitarian Law Project at the Lauterpacht Centre (University of Cambridge). Francesco has carried out legal research in both academic centres (Harvard Law School Program on International Law and Armed Conflict, IHEID’s Global Governance Centre) and policy-oriented organizations (Interpeace, Justice Rapid Response). Francesco holds a PhD in International Law from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies of Geneva.

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Course location: Uni Mail, Bd du Pont d'Arve 40, 1205 Geneva - 4th floor, room M4220


Antonia Chiroiu, Titu Maiorescu University, Romania - International Cultural Heritage Law Edition 2022

I am happy to announce that I have completed the International Cultural Heritage Law course at the Geneva Summer Schools, University of Geneva. For the past two weeks, I was delighted to expand my knowledge on the subject, meet like-minded people from all around the world and gained new perspectives. Thanks to Alessandro Chechi and Marc-Andre Renold for organizing and I’m deeply grateful for this experience!

Georgina Tall, commercial paralegal at Irwin Mitchell, UK - International Cultural Heritage Law Edition 2022

I have recently completed a two-week course at the Geneva Summer Schools, University of Geneva, in International Cultural Heritage Law in Geneva, Switzerland. The art market is a complex network of several actors with varying intentions, and I am excited to continue investigating this area of focus.
A wide range of topics were covered in just two weeks, including the trade in cultural objects (licit and illicit), the restitution of stolen or looted artworks like Nazi-looted art, the protection of cultural property in the event of armed conflict, IP law, UNESCO Conventions, and more.
Thank you to Alessandro Chechi and Marc-André Renold for organizing this course. Interacting with classmates from around the world in a course with an international focus while in a global city was exciting and provided a unique environment for study.

Helen Innes, University of St Andrews, Scotland

I have had the pleasure of spending the last two weeks at Geneva Summer Schools - UNIGE learning about International Cultural Heritage Law. A broad range of interesting and important topics were covered from the legal issues of the art market (licit and illicit), human rights and cultural heritage, IP law and Nazi-looted art.
I am looking forward to implementing all the valuable information I have gained into practice!
Thanks to Alessandro Chechi and Marc-André Renold for organising and ensuring a smooth running of the course!

Angel Chona Grace Valero-Nunez, Law Professor at University of Makati School of Law, Philippines- International Cultural Heritage Law Edition 2022

I really had a great experience in Summer School. I hope to be back in the near future. I will be bringing back home additional knowledge and experiences from all the topics and activities we had. I am in awe of all the professors and experts in the field of International Cultural Heritage Law. I feel humbled and grateful for having been able to learn from the greatest in this field - special mention to Prof. Chechi, Prof. Renald, Prof. Yates, Prof. Lee, UNSR Xanthaki, Prof. Hausler, and Prof. Bandle.  I am very pleased as to how the program was prepared and executed. I am very happy as well with the new friendships I made in Summer School. Truly an enriching experience! 

Cecilia Zoeller- International Cultural Heritage Law Online Edition 2021






GSS was truly an edifying experience. The courses were thorough and well conceived, as well as easily understandable and fascinating. I would like to congratulate the professors for putting together an interactive program rich in expertise, practical knowledge, as well as different viewpoints that helped me to understand a broad topic that was new to me, and find my way in the field of international cultural heritage law. I am truly grateful to have had this great opportunity to interact with experts on the field and exchange with other enthusiastic students of international law.

Ilaria Bortot, LLM student, United Kingdom - International Cultural Heritage Law Online Edition 2021

"Over the past two weeks I had the chance to study International Cultural Heritage Law at the University of Geneva. I just want to thank Alessandro Chechi for this fascinating Summer School and for giving me the opportunity to meet incredible people committed to the protection of cultural heritage”

 Ankit Malhotra - International Cultural Heritage Law Online Edition 2021








My name is Ankit Malhotra. I am reading Law in India and am President of the Jindal Society of International Law. The lectures were thoroughly intriguing and engaging. The intellectual depth and conceptual knowledge coupled with the new  and unique thoughts was an absolute treat to learn about. I would like to acknowledge the richness of vocabulary of the subject and its presenters. This multi-faceted and multi-stakeholder subject of international law is a fascinating field of research and practice. I remain indebted to Professors Chechi and Renold for giving us life-long students of international law an opportunity to stand on the shoulders of giants and gaze over the horizon of international cultural heritage law. 

Tashia Dare, International Cultural Heritage Law Summer School 2019

"I am a lecturer in Museum Studies where I teach about cultural heritage and armed conflict as well as cultural property/cultural heritage. I attended the International Cultural Heritage Law program in 2019 for professional development purposes. I came having little legal knowledge. The program gave me a much greater understanding of the legal aspects of cultural heritage. This has expanded my thinking of cultural heritage in general and my approach to my courses. I have incorporated several of the readings and have drawn on some of the material from the lectures. Moreover, one of the lecturers has repeatedly been a guest speaker. In addition, I made important connections with some of the participants, which has led to new employment opportunities. I cannot speak highly enough of this program."

Majdolene Dajani, International Cultural Heritage Law Summer School 2020

"The summer school was the highlight of my 2020! Lectures and discussions were very interesting and stimulating, despite the online format. The course will help me in the next stage of my career where I will be doing my own research project."


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

“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 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

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


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.


Jean Anglin, Germany - International Cultural Heritage Law Summer School 2017

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.

Paul, France - International Cultural Heritage Law Summer School 2017

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)

Georgie, Italy - International Cultural Heritage Law Summer School  2016

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)

Jawida Jenin, United Kingdom - International Cultural Heritage Law Summer School

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, Germany - International Cultural Heritage Law Summer School

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, Germany - International Cultural Heritage Law Summer School 2014

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).