The Cultural Heritage by AIA-Military Panel (CHAMP), sponsored by the Archaeological Institute of America (AIA) is dedicated to improving awareness among deploying military personnel regarding the culture and history of local communities in host countries and war zones.
Co-chaired by CCHAG co-founder Laurie W. Rush, Ph.D., RPA, FAAR (top) and former AIA president C. Brian Rose, Ph.D. (middle) with Air Force ISR Agency Planner Ms. Laura A. Childs (bottom right) serving as Secretary and Ms. Antoinette (Anne) Egitto (bottom left) as Communications Coordinator, CHAMP began to take shape in 2003, during the aftermath of the looting of the Iraq National Museum in Baghdad and damage to archaeological and cultural sites in Iraq. These events brought the Archaeological Institute of America (AIA) and Department of Defense (DOD) together in an effort to improve cultural and heritage awareness of military personnel operating outside of the United States. Training was expanded to include the development of cultural education information into lectures to deploying personnel, materials and training scenarios, participation in international symposia, and public awareness of the DOD-AIA program. In 2008, the AIA Annual Meeting in Philadelphia hosted a panel session on DOD-AIA support in war zones. Working groups developed plans for GIS mapping of cultural sites, U.S. and international offices for cultural preservation, and education and training.
At the 2009 AIA Annual Meeting in Anaheim, a CHAMP workshop was held to discuss the accomplishments and current efforts of the AIA-Military Group, including the translation of the Iraqi Cultural Atlas, participation in various training scenarios, development of training materials and courses, and new initiatives and participating organizations. Most recently, CHAMP organized the workshop “Cultural Heritage Preservation in a Dangerous World – Revolutions and Humanitarian Crises” at the AIA Annual Meeting in Philadelphia on January 6, 2012.
- Build collaborative groups between military personnel and professional archaeologists to promote understanding of military needs, cultural site preservation, and sensitivities of local populations.
- Offer opportunities for AIA professionals and members to participate in DOD initiatives to enhance global heritage stewardship.
- Develop good procedures for military operations within areas of cultural significance.
- Train military personnel on history, culture, historical sites, artifacts, and laws regarding trafficking in antiquities.
- Educate military personnel on host nation history and heritage resources and provide training for AIA and military members on compliance with preservation treaties, laws, and regulations.
- Develop academic exchange programs for military personnel to attend various academic institutions and for non-military academic personnel to help military academic institutions develop curricula.
Partnership with CHAMP enhances the value proposition that the CCHAG delivers to its COCOM and Joint Force clients.