What does it mean to be “safe,” and what does it mean to be “endangered”? Who defines these terms, why, and what does this act of definition allow them to do? In December 2016, a conference entitled Safeguarding Endangered Cultural Heritage took place in Abu Dhabi, organized jointly by the governments of the United Arab Emirates and France, and held under the patronage of UNESCO. The Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Shaykh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, was in attendance, as was French President François Hollande and the Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova; many other dignitaries joined them. The diplomatic spectacle was a sight to behold. The assembled, distinctly elite, group seemed to have given itself sole authority to speak for and about cultural heritage around the world.