The definition of internationalism according to the Oxford Dictionary reads as “the principle of cooperation among nations, for the promotion of their common good, sometimes as contrasted with nationalism, or devotion to the interests of a particular nation.” According to the idea of cultural Internationalism the protection and enjoyment of
2 Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict with Regulations for the Execution of the Convention 1954 from UNESCO.
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all cultural property is a universal matter which concerns all citizens of the world, regardless of the location of the artifact or its cultural basis. Consequently, the items which consist the cultural property are a “possession” of the global community, and it is encouraged that the country with the best resources available and the most proper environment should retain the artifact and be responsible for the preservation of another country’s cultural property with the intention of taking care of it while disposing the best means in order to preserve it.
With this in mind, items of cultural heritage which are located in other countries than the ones who were originally manufactured, such as Neffertiti’s Bust and the Elgin Marbles, should continue to exist in the Neues Museum in Berlin and in the British Museum respectively, since in those museums they are ultimately protected. Furthermore, by being located in prominent museums, the artifacts are available for being admired and visited by the whole world. In a globalized community such as the one we reside in, museums should have a broad, encyclopedic role by promoting and exhibiting works of art- paintings, artifacts, music or dance-, which represent the diverse cultures from all around the world, in the greatest possible extend, always in accordance with law. In other words, it is advised that the cultural artifacts are not viewed through their political boundaries, but they participate in offering a more cosmopolitan point of view and a mutual, precise understanding of the culture in general.
However, nations all around the world tend to use their cultural property as a distinguishing feature among other countries, which goes hand in hand with the nation’s historical and ethnic roots. The above mentioned factor usually consists an obstacle as far as the implementation of the principle of cultural internationalism is concerned. Finally, it should be mentioned that the 1954 Hague Convention represents the internationalist ideas concerning the management of cultural property.