In the framework of the activities of the Intergovernmental Committee for Promoting the Return of Cultural Property to its Countries of Origin or its Restitution in case of Illicit Appropriation, Greece hosted an international conference for lawyers, museum professionals and experts in the field of the return of cultural property on 17 and 18 March 2008 at the New Acropolis Museum in Athens.This conference was the first in a series of international gatherings organized by UNESCO and its Member States to foster awareness and provide for a reflection and exchanges on the issue of the return of cultural property. This meeting was also an opportunity to consider means of strengthening the action of the Intergovernmental Committee.
This first international conference brought together a select number of high profile professionals who have been involved in discussions leading to the return or reunification of cultural property. The first day of the conference was devoted to the presentation of individual return cases by those involved. On the second day, discussions were held around four thematic workshops related to the debate on returns.
The Proceedings of the Athens Conference were presented by Ms Elena Korka, Director of Prehistorical and Classical Antiquities at the Hellenic Ministry of Culture, during the 15th session of Intergovernmental Committee for Promoting the Return of Cultural property to its Countries of origin or its Restitution in case of Illicit Appropriation, which took place from 11 to 13 May 2009 at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris. The official proceedings had been published in a special issue of UNESCO Museum International (n.241-242).