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Graduation Day for the Cultural Heritage Conservation and Management Program

After 12 weeks of work, exchanges, discussions, and sites visits, the second training course of the WMF Cultural Heritage Conservation and Management Program was completed. The program was held during 2014 and 2015 primarily at the Iraqi Institute for the Conservation of Antiquities and Heritage (IICAH) in Erbil, as well as at the American University in Iraq, Sulaimani.

The 11 trainees from the Iraqi State Board of Antiquities and Heritage (SBAH) and from the Directorate of Antiquities of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) worked during the last week to prepare their projects presentation in which they integrated various practical and theoretical notions approached and discussed during the course. On May 31, these were publicly presented to an attentive audience that interacted with the students with questions, critiques, and debates.

On June 1, the graduation ceremony at IICAH was attended by various authorities including Mr. Nawzad Hadi (Erbil Governor), Mr. Tahir Abdullah (Erbil Deputy Governor), Mr. Dara al-Yaqubi (Head, High Commission for Erbil Citadel Revitalization), Dr. Ali Ghanem (State Board of Antiquities and Heritage, Baghdad), Sara Harriger (Public Affairs Officer, U.S. Consulate General in Erbil), Mr. Kanan Mufti (General Director Ministry of Culture, Erbil), Mr. Mala Awat (Director, General Directorate of Antiquities of the KRG), and Boris Jean (in charge of the Ifpo Erbil office); by academics from Salahaddin University in Erbil, Duhok University, and the American University in Iraq, Sulaimani; and various other representatives of local cultural institutions.

The lively and warm celebration was followed by a public lecture presented by Dr. Mounir Bouchenaki (Director, Arab Regional Center for World Heritage) on Cultural Properties and Disaster Reduction from a Global Perspective. The students who just started a new training course at IICAH also joined the event.

For the students of the WMF course, this was a rewarding day that was enriched by a lecture that touched on the major urgent issues that cultural heritage in the world is facing. The interesting debate continued over a lunch offered at IICAH to all the participants.

WMF would like to thank the U.S. Department of State’s Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation, the Iraq State Board of Antiquities and Heritage, and the Iraqi Institute for the Conservation of Antiquities and Heritage for helping to make this management training program possible.