The GCI-WMF Iraq Cultural Heritage Conservation Initiative: Building Professional Capacity for Cultural Heritage Conservation and Management

One consequence of years of dictatorial regime, international embargo and war was isolation of the professional community responsible for the protection of cultural heritage in Iraq. This community was cut off from international debate concerning the development of methodologies and theories on the conservation and management of archaeological sites, historic monuments and districts. The Iraq State Board of Antiquities and Heritage (SBAH), the governmental body responsible for the nation’s cultural heritage, was also depleted of resources. Professionals could not access information, new technologies, such as the Internet and digital photography, and could not follow the international literature or discussions refl ecting advances in practice. The Getty Conservation Institute and the World Monuments Fund partnered in late 2003 to form the Iraq Cultural Heritage Conservation Initiative (hereafter called the Initiative), to assist the SBAH to redevelop its professional and managerial capabilities. In meetings with the directors of departments of the SBAH in 2004, a plan was conceived to address the problems. A series of training courses was developed aimed at various categories of SBAH’s staff, from directors of regional offi ces to archaeologists, engineers and surveyors.

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