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Paige Mason

Debt-for-Nature Swaps: Revisiting the Concept Following the Seychelles Deal

At the end of February 2018, the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation announced that it reached a debt-for-nature agreement with the Republic of Seychelles.  As part of the deal, private investors (including the Foundation) purchased $20 million of Seychelles’ sovereign debt at a discount.  Seychelles will now make debt repayments—at a lower interest rate because of the restructuring—to…

Withdrawing from UNESCO: Symbolism and Next Steps

On October 12, 2017, the United States announced its withdrawal from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), citing a perceived anti-Israel bias and a politicized organizational mission. In general, UNESCO’s stated purpose is “coordinating international cooperation in education, science, culture, and communication.”  UNESCO is well-known for many of its activities, not least…

Carrot Versus Stick: Encouraging Private Collections to Self-Audit Collections for Looted Cultural Property

There is no question that the serious legal consequences of acquiring looted cultural property—either purposefully or accidentally—is often a sufficient deterrent for private collectors to avoid pursuing artifacts from countries embroiled in conflict, like Iraq or Syria.  In light of the undesirable outcome private collectors understandably envision, such as the forfeiture and negative publicity surrounding…

Sovereign Wealth Funds: Their Role in the Future

Sovereign wealth funds, or investment vehicles owned by nation-states, have become increasingly popular economic and foreign policy tools for emerging market countries. These funds often both invest overseas to hedge against domestic calamities and fund foreign social and economic development. In the case of many states, sovereign wealth funds manage trillions of dollars in assets…

The Hobby Lobby Settlement and Combating Cultural Property Trafficking

On July 5, 2017, prosecutors for the Eastern District of New York announced a settlement with Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. for its purchase and importation of Iraqi artifacts in violation of applicable customs laws.  Hobby Lobby, a privately owned arts-and-crafts retailer based in Oklahoma, worked with several dealers from Israel and the United Arab Emirates…

Women, Peace, and Security Act of 2017: Codifying Commitments from the U.S. National Action Plan

Though women around the world are profoundly and disproportionately affected by violent conflict, both during and in the often-amorphous post-conflict period, there is a global recognition that all must work to ensure meaningful inclusion and participation of women in the prevention, mitigation, and resolution of violent conflict. Such a recognition has yielded over the years…

An International Insolvency Court; Is it time to reconsider the concept (again)?

In the early 2000s, the International Monetary Fund (IMF)—an organization of member countries that works to ensure the stability of the international monetary system—contemplated the creation of a sovereign debt restructuring mechanism, including a sovereign debt dispute resolution forum, to address the perceived need for a bankruptcy court for sovereigns. Such a solution falls within…

MDBs and National Authorities: Fighting Corruption Through Communication

It should come as no surprise that corruption sometimes threads its tentacles through development projects funded by Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs).  MDBs are international financial institutions, funded by member countries that extend loans, grants, and investments for economic and social development.  Corruption in those projects may be associated with national officials of the countries benefitting…

The Future of Dissent Channels in U.S. Government Agencies

Outside of the beltway, most of the American public learns of dissenting opinions held by employees within a particular U.S. government agency when details of any formal opposition leak to the press.  The dissent process itself might also seem a little confusing and perhaps at odds with an altruistic vision of a unified approach to…

New Approaches to Combating Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing in the Art World

A few months ago, I wrote an article for Charged Affairs examining how a U.S. Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) against Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) that incorporates a version of World War II’s “Monuments Men” could be an invaluable instrument in the fight against the widespread pillaging, destruction,…

Debt-for-Nature Swaps: Revisiting the Concept Following the Seychelles Deal

At the end of February 2018, the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation announced that it reached a debt-for-nature agreement with the Republic of Seychelles.  As part of the deal, private investors (including the Foundation) purchased $20 million of Seychelles’ sovereign debt at a discount.  Seychelles will now make debt repayments—at a lower interest rate because of the restructuring—to…

Withdrawing from UNESCO: Symbolism and Next Steps

On October 12, 2017, the United States announced its withdrawal from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), citing a perceived anti-Israel bias and a politicized organizational mission. In general, UNESCO’s stated purpose is “coordinating international cooperation in education, science, culture, and communication.”  UNESCO is well-known for many of its activities, not least…

Carrot Versus Stick: Encouraging Private Collections to Self-Audit Collections for Looted Cultural Property

There is no question that the serious legal consequences of acquiring looted cultural property—either purposefully or accidentally—is often a sufficient deterrent for private collectors to avoid pursuing artifacts from countries embroiled in conflict, like Iraq or Syria.  In light of the undesirable outcome private collectors understandably envision, such as the forfeiture and negative publicity surrounding…

Sovereign Wealth Funds: Their Role in the Future

Sovereign wealth funds, or investment vehicles owned by nation-states, have become increasingly popular economic and foreign policy tools for emerging market countries. These funds often both invest overseas to hedge against domestic calamities and fund foreign social and economic development. In the case of many states, sovereign wealth funds manage trillions of dollars in assets…

The Hobby Lobby Settlement and Combating Cultural Property Trafficking

On July 5, 2017, prosecutors for the Eastern District of New York announced a settlement with Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. for its purchase and importation of Iraqi artifacts in violation of applicable customs laws.  Hobby Lobby, a privately owned arts-and-crafts retailer based in Oklahoma, worked with several dealers from Israel and the United Arab Emirates…

Women, Peace, and Security Act of 2017: Codifying Commitments from the U.S. National Action Plan

Though women around the world are profoundly and disproportionately affected by violent conflict, both during and in the often-amorphous post-conflict period, there is a global recognition that all must work to ensure meaningful inclusion and participation of women in the prevention, mitigation, and resolution of violent conflict. Such a recognition has yielded over the years…

An International Insolvency Court; Is it time to reconsider the concept (again)?

In the early 2000s, the International Monetary Fund (IMF)—an organization of member countries that works to ensure the stability of the international monetary system—contemplated the creation of a sovereign debt restructuring mechanism, including a sovereign debt dispute resolution forum, to address the perceived need for a bankruptcy court for sovereigns. Such a solution falls within…

MDBs and National Authorities: Fighting Corruption Through Communication

It should come as no surprise that corruption sometimes threads its tentacles through development projects funded by Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs).  MDBs are international financial institutions, funded by member countries that extend loans, grants, and investments for economic and social development.  Corruption in those projects may be associated with national officials of the countries benefitting…

The Future of Dissent Channels in U.S. Government Agencies

Outside of the beltway, most of the American public learns of dissenting opinions held by employees within a particular U.S. government agency when details of any formal opposition leak to the press.  The dissent process itself might also seem a little confusing and perhaps at odds with an altruistic vision of a unified approach to…

New Approaches to Combating Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing in the Art World

A few months ago, I wrote an article for Charged Affairs examining how a U.S. Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) against Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) that incorporates a version of World War II’s “Monuments Men” could be an invaluable instrument in the fight against the widespread pillaging, destruction,…