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Heritage and Capacity Building in Iraq Today

Date(s) - 06/30/2020
10:00 am - 11:00 am

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Smithsonian Cultural Rescue Initiative

10 am – 11 am EDT

About the Event

Critical lessons and successes of the Smithsonian’s partnership with the Iraqi Institute for the Conservation of Antiquities and Heritage (IICAH) to train a new generation of Iraqis to preserve their cultural heritage will be discussed by Jessica S. Johnson, Head of Conservation at Smithsonian’s Museum Conservation Institute (MCI) and Brian Michael Lione, MCI’s International Cultural Heritage Protection Program Manager.

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, known as ISIS, demolished the ancient city of Nimrud in 2015-2017. Destruction of this ancient site, home to famous colossal lamassu sculptures, was part of a campaign to destroy the pre-Islamic cultural heritage of northern Iraq. Today, the country’s cultural heritage remains under threat of looting, and on-going damage from the catastrophic destruction and reconstruction activities.

Topics will include training methodologies, ISIS-affected community workshops, the need for sustained political and financial support, the capacity development of local people and institutions, and the ongoing partnership of the Smithsonian and the Iraqi Institute for the Conservation of Antiquities and Heritage.

This discussion will be moderated by Dr. Nana Kaneko, Mellon/ACLS Public Fellow and Program Manager for Cultural Disaster Analysis, SCRI. Questions and comments from attendees will be welcomed as part of the livestream program, which is based on presentations made by Johnson and Lione during “Current Approaches to the Conservation of Conflict-Affected Heritage,” a symposium held at the Smithsonian in Washington, DC, on February 28, 2020.

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Image: Practicing evacuation techniques for fragile artifacts.
Credit: Iraqi Institute for the Conservation of Antiquities and Heritage

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