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First Aid Heritage Training in Iraq

In partnership with the University of Pennsylvania, the Smithsonian Institution and ICCROM, the Cultural Emergency Response programme (CER) supported a ‘Cultural Heritage, Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Training’ in Iraq. The course, which was taught by the Iraqi Institute for the Conservation of Antiquities and Heritage (IICAH), trained seventeen local heritage professionals for a period of four weeks and was the first of its kind in Iraq.

The invasion of Mosul and the Nineveh Province by the Islamic State in June 2014 caused hundreds of thousands Iraqis to flee, including cultural heritage professionals from the Mosul Museumand the provincial offices of the State Board of Antiquities and Heritage (SBAH). IS activities have since threatened the welfare of SBAH staff and damaged Iraq’s ancient and irreplaceable cultural heritage in occupied areas. The continued existence of much of Iraq’s cultural heritage is in jeopardy.

The ‘Cultural Heritage, Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Training’ was designed to assist Iraqi professionals in preparing for continued heritage destruction as well as planning for a response once the conflict ends. The group of participants, which included archaeologists, museum personnel, heritage engineers and architects, were selected by the SBAH in Baghdad and the Kurdistan Regional Government in Erbil. Taught by the IICAH, the course educated the heritage professionals on how to prepare irreplaceable cultural heritage sites and collections for safekeeping in anticipation of possible conflict. Moreover, the students learned how to respond to post-conflict emergencies by documenting damages and stabilising materials at risk. A range of topics such as basic inventory procedures, safe packing and movement of collections, damage assessment and documentation, and recovery plans for heritage sites and museums were part of the curriculum.

Impact

In the short term participants were taught to prepare for, and respond to, emergencies that are affecting Iraq’s cultural heritage. In the longer term, many of the course participants will share what they learned with their colleagues in provincial antiquities offices across Iraq, resulting in a multiplier effect. Over time, this sharing of knowledge will encourage other Iraqi heritage specialists to request continued training opportunities at the Iraqi Institute for the Conservation of Antiquities and Heritage in the future.

See below some photos illustrating activities conducted under grant CER.2014.05491, “Cultural Heritage, Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Response Training in Iraq” 31 May – 11 June 2015.

First Aid Heritage Training in Iraq

"Cultural Heritage, Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Training"

First Aid Heritage Training in Iraq

 
 
 
 

First Aid Heritage Training in Iraq

In partnership with the University of Pennsylvania, the Smithsonian Institution and ICCROM, the Cultural Emergency Response programme (CER) supported a ‘Cultural Heritage, Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Training’ in Iraq. The course, which was taught by the Iraqi Institute for the Conservation of Antiquities and Heritage (IICAH), trained seventeen local heritage professionals...