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One Marine’s Passion to Recover the World’s Stolen Treasures

NEW YORK, NY  – The Hellenic-American Cultural Foundation (HACF) presents “Thieves of Baghdad: One Marine’s Passion to Recover the World’s Greatest Stolen Treasures” with Colonel Matthew Bogdanos on Wednesday, March 8, at 7 pm at Merkin Concert Hall at the Kaufman Music Center, 129 West 67th Street in Manhattan.

The world watched in horror as ISIS and al-Qaeda destroyed the fabled cities of Hatra, Khorsabad, Nimrud, and Nineveh. For every masterpiece that was destroyed, thousands of others lined terrorist’s coffers through international trafficking. In a series of photographs, Colonel Bogdanos will trace the development of the global black market from al-Qaeda’s looting of the Iraq Museum to ISIS’s current, systemized pillaging, demonstrating how a million-dollar antiquity can travel from a war-torn country to a Madison Avenue dealer.

Matthew Bogdanos, as an assistant District Attorney, created the first-of-its-kind Antiquities Trafficking Unit. Raised waiting tables in his family’s Greek restaurant, he is a former amateur middleweight boxer who joined the U.S. Marine Corps at 19. Leaving active duty in 1988 to join the Manhattan DA’s Office, he returned to active duty on 9/11 and deployed to Afghanistan where he received a Bronze Star for actions against al-Qaeda. He then deployed to Iraq where he was awarded a National Humanities Medal from President Bush for helping recover more than 6,000 of lraq’s treasures. Since 2010, he has led the recovery of over 4,500 priceless antiquities stolen from more than a dozen countries, including tens of millions of dollars’ worth of extraordinary antiquities that have been repatriated to Greece. From Columbia University, Bogdanos has received a law degree, a master’s degree in Classics, and a Recognition of Achievement in International Law, as well as a master’s degree in strategic studies from the Army War College. He has also received numerous awards and written a book, Thieves of Baghdad, whose royalties are donated to the Iraq National Museum.

More information about HACF is available online: www.hacfoundation.org.