Laurie Rush at the Roman Forum with archaeology guide book in hand

Before Laurie Rush arrived at the Academy, she had no idea she was about to become part of a tradition of military service at the AAR. Overwhelmed by her new studio space and the view of the sun rising over Monte Cavo from her room, Laurie was also moved by the memorial in the cortile to two former fellows, lost during World War I.

World War I Memorial

Cortile, American Academy in Rome
Subsequent research in the special collections of the Arthur and Janet C. Ross Library revealed a connection between the Academy and the Monuments Men, the World War II Officers who courageously served in Europe attempting to save, recover, and stabilize masterpieces of artwork and architecture across the war ravaged continent. 

Laurie works in a similar capacity within the U.S. Department of Defense, developing cultural property protection curricula for military personnel. Using places and features within Rome, she hopes to offer the soldiers from the many countries who attend the NATO Defense College in Rome opportunities to develop a greater appreciation for heritage issues. She expects to bring back examples and lessons learned to military educational institutions in the States.

Italy also offers Laurie an opportunity to learn more about the Carabinieri, the only military force in the world that specifically prepares to offer archaeological site protection. The Carabinieri offered to introduce her to their Command for the Protection of Cultural Patrimony and to visit some of their regional programs, allowing their ideas and methods to be used as examples for U.S. forces. Due to the generosity of the Carabinieri, she has learned far more than she expected, enough hopefully for a book that will introduce their unique organization and extraordinary accomplishments to the English speaking world.

Dr. Rush had the privilege of accompanying officers from the Carabinieri TPC, Sicily unit as they examined evidence of illegal excavations

In what she calls her "Rome is the Gateway to the World" program, Laurie is also using the opportunity to live and work in Rome as a base from which to teach and discuss cultural property protection with itnerested audiences from Italy to Jordan and places in between. 

From Laurie’s perspective, the biggest challenge of life at the Academy is balancing time for research, writing, teaching, and experiencing the City.

Laurie Rush with Ms. Najiba Mustafayeva, a student from Azerbaijan

International Institute of Humanitarian Law Course on Cultural Property Protection for Military Personnel

“This piece from an informal art installation, seen along the Tiber, is included to illustrate how my months in Rome have helped me to think about the nature of cultural property - its value and means for its protection - in much broader and more complex terms.”
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