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Coalition Provisional Authority
Baghdad, Iraq
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Kristi Clemens
February 22, 2004 Office of Strategic Communications
Tel: 1-914-360-6466



Sunday, February 22 – Today a group of Iraqi museum professionals departed Baghdad for the United States, where they will participate in a five-week, intensive Cultural Heritage Institute and practicum.

The need to protect and conserve cultural heritage unites all countries. The Cultural Heritage Institute for Iraq aims to prepare the next generation of Iraqi stewards and to forge ongoing partnerships between Iraqi and American institutions and colleagues.

“These young professionals represent the future for museums in Iraq,” observes John Russell, Deputy Senior Advisor for Culture for the CPA, who consulted on the development of the Institute. “This unique program gives them an opportunity to see how other collections work, meet colleagues in a variety of museum disciplines in the US, and bring ideas back to their own museums throughout Iraq.”

The Cultural Heritage Institute for Iraq is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The five-week program is provided through a grant to the Council of American Overseas Research Centers, in partnership with the Smithsonian Institution. The Institute will provide these Iraqis with the opportunity to build their professional skills in order to contribute to the renewal of Iraq's cultural heritage and institutions.

This Iraqi group of museum specialists will study in the United States for five weeks. The program will include lectures, discussions, practical training, and intensive interaction with U.S. experts and professionals in cultural and historical preservation and archeology. It will be conducted at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. and include visits to the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archeology and Anthropology, Philadelphia and several museums and monuments in the Santa Fe, New Mexico region.

The group is made up of 23 museum specialists, including 15 women and 8 men. These individuals currently work at museums in Iraq, including the Baghdad Museum, the Museum of Najaf, the Museum of Diala, and the Babylon Museum. The 23 participants are mostly between the ages of 25 and 35. All but one graduated from the University of Baghdad in a variety of degrees, including: Islamic Archaeology, Graphic Design, Cuneiform, Library Cataloging, and English Literature.

Currently, members of the group work in the following museum specializations: registration, curatorial, conservation, education, exhibit design, library science, among others. Participants in this program were selected by cultural advisors to the Iraq Ministry of Culture and the Director of the Iraq National Museum.


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