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Tuesday, May 17 • 3:00pm - 3:30pm
(Emergency) The Iraqi Institute: conservation’s role in disaster preparedness, recovery and long-term redevelopment

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Iraq has suffered decades of war and sanctions, the most recent being the incursions of the Islamic State in Syria and the Levant (ISIS). In Iraq, as in many other countries, governments have funded conservation and other types of heritage programs in order to support the country and its internal institutions. The Iraqi Institute is a successful example of a longer-term approach to capacity building through educating individuals working in the heritage community in Iraq. After a crisis (earthquake, flood, terrorist attack, war) quick response and recovery are necessary to ensure preservation of as much of a community’s cultural heritage as possible. Redevelopment is a much longer process that requires commitment and development by individuals and institutions to ensure long-term improvement in skills of the community, preservation of heritage, and funding. Conservation can be part of the redevelopment process by building bridges between communities by focusing on history, improving skills together, and education about the larger world of heritage professionals. The Iraqi Institute for the Conservation of Antiquities and Heritage was initiated in 2009 through a grant from the US Embassy in Baghdad. Since then, it has expanded into a well-appointed building with conservation teaching labs, dormitories and classrooms. It is supported by a Board of Directors drawn from heritage experts from Baghdad and Erbil. It has an international Advisory Council drawn from individuals in the US and Iraq who have dedicated years of their support to finding was to make the Institute a sustainable entity in a country that is still struggling to rebuild and define itself in the current world. The successes of the Institute can be defined by the community that has been built. A collection of people who have a great love of their heritage and a fierce desire to learn how to take care of it. This is a group of students who come from all across Iraq – Kurdish, Arab, Christian, Muslim, male, female. These people, supported by their institutions, came to the Institute from across the country to learn how to preserve their heritage.

avatar for Jessica Johnson

Jessica Johnson

Head of Conservation, Smithsonian's Museum Conservation Institute
Jessica S. Johnson is the Head of Conservation at the Smithsonian’s Museum Conservation Institute (MCI), specializing in archaeological materials and ethnographic artifacts. Before coming to MCI in fall 2014, she worked with the University of Delaware, Institute for Global Studies... Read More →

Tuesday May 17, 2016 3:00pm - 3:30pm EDT
Room 513 A/C