Spring Spotlight 2021

Cultural Heritage in Conflict: The Case for Iraq

Event Details

This year’s Spring Spotlight event will explore the role of cultural heritage as a means of recovery and reconciliation. World Monuments Fund is currently engaged in numerous projects in Iraq, from the preservation of Ishtar Gate and Ninmakh Temple at the archaeological site of Babylon and conservation of key buildings in the citadel of Erbil to the reconstruction of the Mam Rashan Yazidi shrine in Mt. Sinjar and the rehabilitation of Mosul Museum, which was severely damaged by Daesh (ISIS) in 2015.

Join World Monuments Fund—virtually—on Monday, June 7, at 12:00 noon EDT for our annual Spring Spotlight event hosted by President and CEO Bénédicte de Montlaur. Joining her from a variety of backgrounds to consider the opportunities culture presents in Iraq are General David H. Petraeus, US Army (Ret.), and His Excellency Dr. Fareed Yasseen, Iraq’s ambassador to the United States. The event will also feature a presentation on heritage preservation in Iraq by Iraqi landscape architect and preservationist, Dr. Jala Makhzoumi.

Donations to Spring Spotlight provide critical operating funds that ensure a sustainable future for the organization. World Monuments Fund is committed to working with local communities around the globe to safeguard humanity’s highest cultural achievements and, now more than ever, your contribution makes that possible. Your support helps us continue our work to preserve exceptional architectural treasures around the world and safeguard them for future generations.


About the Speakers

General David H. Petraeus

US Army (Ret.)

General David H. Petraeus (US Army, Ret.) is a Partner with the global investment firm KKR and Chairman of the KKR Global Institute, which he established in 2013. Prior to joining KKR, General Petraeus served over 37 years in the U.S. military, culminating in six consecutive commands, five of which were in combat, including command of the 101st Airborne Division during the fight to Baghdad and the first year in Iraq; of the Multinational Security Transition Command in Iraq; of coalition forces in Iraq during the Surge; of the U.S. Central Command; and of coalition forces in Afghanistan. Following retirement from the military, he served as Director of the CIA. General Petraeus graduated with distinction from the U.S. Military Academy and earned a Ph.D. from Princeton University’s School of Public and International Affairs. He has earned numerous honors and awards, and has been decorated by 13 foreign countries.


His Excellency Dr. Fareed Yasseen

Iraq's Ambassador to the United States

Dr. Fareed Yasseen has served as Iraq's ambassador to the United States since 2016, and has previously served as head of Iraq’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs' Department of Policy Planning; diplomatic advisor to Deputy President Adil Abd al-Mahdi; and Ambassador to France. Initially trained as a physicist, Dr. Yasseen carried out academic research in the field before engaging in political activism and human rights advocacy. He has worked and consulted for various start-ups, think tanks, and UN agencies, including the Secretariat of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. In 2016, Dr. Yasseen was awarded the Robert and JoAnn Bendetsen Public Diplomacy Award at Tufts University and made Commander of France's Order of the Legion of Honor.


Bénédicte de Montlaur

President and CEO of World Monuments Fund

Bénédicte de Montlaur is President and Chief Executive Officer of World Monuments Fund (WMF), the world’s foremost private organization dedicated to saving extraordinary places while empowering the communities around them. She is responsible for defining WMF’s strategic vision, currently implementing that vision in more than 30 countries around the world and leading a team that spans the globe. Her background mixes culture and the arts, politics, international diplomacy and human rights. Prior to joining WMF, Montlaur spent two decades working across three continents as a senior diplomat at the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs.


With a presentation about heritage preservation in Iraq by: 

Dr. Jala Makhzoumi

Architect and Adjunct Professor of Landscape Architecture, American University of Beirut

Dr. Jala Makhzoumi is an architect and adjunct professor of Landscape Architecture at the American University of Beirut, with expertise in post-conflict recovery, heritage conservation and sustainable development. She served as an ecological landscape consultant for projects that include the Baghdad Comprehensive City Development 2030, the Damascus Master Plan 2030, and the Saida Urban Sustainable Development Strategy. She is president of the Lebanese Landscape Association; co-founder of the Cambridge Center for Landscape and People; and partner at UNIT44 design and planning. Dr. Makhzoumi studied architecture in Baghdad before completing her Masters in Environmental Design at Yale University and earning her Ph.D. in landscape architecture at Sheffield University. She is a recipient of the 2019 European Council of Landscape Architecture Schools Lifetime Achievement Award for her outstanding contribution to landscape architecture education and practice.

Thank you, as always, for supporting World Monuments Fund and our vision.


Benefit Committee

Vice Chair

Lorna and Edwin Goodman
Lisa and Bernard Selz
Hélène Marie and Jake Shafran


Davide & Ronnie, The StefanacciWest Foundation


Brook Berlind
Wendy and Robert Brandow
Susan and François de Menil
Linn and Robert Feidelson
Mr. and Mrs. Peter Kimmelman
Monika McLennan
Marchesa Katrin Theodoli


Prince Amyn Aga Khan
Mark Fletcher and Tobias Meyer
David and Sylvia Goodman
Anas Halabi
Fernanda M. Kellogg and Kirk Henckels
Nora and Jack Kerr
Deborah Lehr/Antiquities Coalition
Annie Liang-Zhou
Jorge Ordonez
Dr. Marilyn Perry
Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin M. Rosen
Griffin Smilow
Melissa Stewart
Anthony V. Thompson
Charles Wong

as of June 4, 2021

World Monuments Fund is a non-profit organization with 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status. Please note that donations cannot be refunded.