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University assists Iraqi Institute with future plans

Jessica S. Johnson (center), academic director of University of Delaware programs at the Iraqi Institute for the Conservation of Antiquities and Heritage in Erbil, Iraq, leads a tour of the institute's lab facilities during a recent meeting of Iraqi government heritage professionals.

After four years in operation, the Iraqi Institute for the Conservation of Antiquities and Heritage (IICAH) continues to grow, thanks to a strong partnership between the Iraqi government and an international partnership led by the University of Delaware.

Last month, over 50 Iraqi professionals assembled at the institute to share their thoughts and recommendations on the IICAH's goals, purposes and accomplishments. Guests included provincial directors responsible for the management of antiquities and heritage from the State Board of Antiquities and Heritage and the Kurdistan Regional Government, and university faculty and administrators from programs in archaeology, architecture and engineering.

"These meetings are extremely important for the improvement and continued development of the Institute," said Abdullah Khorseed Qadir, director of the IICAH and chairman of its board of directors. "Only through Iraqi and international partnerships can the institute continue to provide relevant education and resources to Iraqi cultural heritage experts."

Guided discussions gave participants an opportunity to provide useful feedback regarding the institute management and academic leadership. The institute, working through their Iraqi-American Advisory Council and UD staff, will use these comments and suggestions to guide updates and changes to curricula and academic program offerings. Together, the group is committed to strengthening training efforts at the institute to better sustain an Iraq-wide educational infrastructure rooted in a strong preservation ethic.

Through the years, the Iraqi Institute has grown and evolved due to the beneficial partnership between the Iraqi government and several international organizations, including UD, the World Monuments Fund and the Italian Ministry for Cultural Heritage and Activities.

"The University of Delaware's work with the IICAH is important in several ways. Not only are we assisting to rebuild and improve the entire cultural heritage sector in Iraq, we're doing so in support of the University's Global Initiative, which encourages awareness and knowledge of cultural and social issues facing the world," said UD's Brian Michael Lione, director of the architectural and site conservation program at the institute.

UD's director of academic programs at the institute, Jessica Johnson, echoed Lione's comments, saying, "By involving Iraqi cultural heritage professionals from both the government and academic sectors, the University of Delaware is helping ensure the long-term sustainability of the programs through increased awareness of the Institute and its capabilities."

The IICAH is a unique collaboration between the U.S. Department of State's Cultural Heritage Center, the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq's State Board of Antiquities and Heritage, the Erbil Governorate, UD's Department of Art Conservation and the Institute for Global Studies, Winterthur Museum, Walters Art Museum, University of Arizona, University of Pennsylvania and the Getty Conservation Institute. Private donors include the Getty Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Bank of America Art Conservation Project.

More information on the IICAH can be found at these websites:

UD Department of Art Conservation

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University assists Iraqi Institute with future plans.
After four years in operation, the Iraqi Institute for the Conservation of Antiquities and Heritage (IICAH) continues to grow, thanks to a strong partnership between the Iraqi government and an international partnership led by the University of Delaware.
6/21/2013
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