On April 24-27, 2012, the Cultural Property Advisory Committee at the U.S. Department of State will meet to review a proposal to extend the current cultural property Memorandum of Understanding with Mali.

We urge everyone who cares about this issue, and particularly people who can speak from experience, to attend the CPAC hearing and present testimony or send a letter in support of the renewal of the bilateral agreement. Whether you’re a student, a volunteer on an archaeological dig, a professional archaeologist, we urge you to get involved and write to CPAC addressing the four determinations (found under Section 303(a) of the Convention on Cultural Property Implementation Act) summarized here. Submit your statement no later than April 3, 2012, 11:59 p.m. (EDT).

The US first took emergency action to restrict the import of artifacts from Mali in 1993. These restrictions applied to archaeological material from the Niger River Valley region as well as the Tellem burial caves at Bandiagara. Since then, the US government has signed and renewed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to continue this import restriction. This MOU is subject to renewal every five years. Effective September 19, 2007, the two countries extended the agreement for an additional five years. Read more about bilateral agreements here and artifact categories covered by the Agreement here.