Programme Overview

International Cultural Heritage Law


Registration for the 2022 edition opens in December 2021.

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.

Professionals : CHF 1,600

External students : CHF 1,300

UNIGE students : CHF 250


NEW! Register for the "Course + Accommodation Package"!

Participants choosing the package, can register through us for housing at the Cité universitaire de Genève. Please thorougly read our instructions before filling in the application form.

Please note that only a limited number of rooms are available for that course. All applications are handled on a first come first served basis and assignments will be subject to availability.

Professionals (course + accommodation): CHF 2,272

External students (course + accommodation) : CHF 1,972


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.

Coming soon...

Zoeller.jpgCecilia Zoeller- ICHL 2021 Online Edition

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, University of York - ICHL 2021 Online Edition

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 - ICHL 2021 Online Edition

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

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).