|SAFE founder Cindy Ho|
For her distinguished accomplishments and unwavering resolve, the Archaeological Institute of America (AIA) last week conferred its prestigious Outstanding Public Service Award on Ms. Ho during a ceremony held at the Hilton Hotel in San Francisco, California.
"To know and not to act is not to know," she exhorted, quoting Chinese philosopher Wang Yangming, inspiring ceremony attendees to apply their collective knowledge to protect cultural heritage.
Ms. Ho's energy and perseverance propelled
- the annual Global Candlelight Vigil, commemorating the looting of the Iraq Museum;
- the Say Yes campaigns, rallying public support for import controls to protect endangered archaeological artifacts;
- the Beacon Awards, honoring notable defenders of cultural heritage; and
- social media messaging and podcasts, making the world of antiquities trafficking familiar to everyday Americans.
In her acceptance speech, the SAFE founder celebrated this notable change over the last thirteen years, declaring that "others are paying attention in a significant way."
But much more needs to be done because what hasn't changed, Ms. Ho warned, is "the no questions asked antiquities trade is still the incentive for looting and destruction." With a call for greater action resounding in her voice, she asked, "How can we possibly tell our children and our children's children that the connection to their past is no longer possible because it has been sold off....?"
Cindy Ho, in fact, stood up to secure the future of archaeology, history, and culture. Because she did so,
It is no surprise then that the
The AIA boasts over 200,000 members and is