The Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs is pleased to announce the full implementation of the Iraqi Conservation Institute’s academic programs. The Iraqi Institute for the Conservation of Antiquities and Heritage is a modern teaching and laboratory facility in Erbil, Iraq, where a team of international conservators, archaeologists, and heritage professionals has been collaborating with the Kurdish Regional Government and the Government of Iraq to educate the next generation of Iraqis to care for and preserve their national treasures. The Institute offers two-year programs in objects conservation and collections care, and in architectural and site conservation. Since 2009 instructors have trained nearly 100 Iraqi professionals from around the country who, at the completion of the program, return to their home institutions to put their newfound skills into practice.
The Institute was established in 2008 under the Iraq Cultural Heritage Project (ICHP), a $12.9 million multi-tiered initiative developed by ECA’s Cultural Heritage Center in collaboration with the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and the Iraq State Board of Antiquities and Heritage. ICHP also built professional capacity in Iraq’s heritage and museum communities, and supported infrastructure upgrades at the Iraq Museum in Baghdad including renovated galleries and new collections storage facilities. The Institute’s educational partnership continues during its third year of operation with funding from private American foundations and individuals, the Erbil Governorate, and the U.S. Department of State, together totaling over $1.9 million for 2012-2013.
The Cultural Heritage Center and U.S. Embassy in Baghdad are proud to work with academic and institutional partners who have made the Institute a reality: the University of Delaware Department of Art Conservation and Institute of Global Studies; the Winterthur Museum, Garden, and Library; the Walters Art Museum; the University of Arizona, the University of Pennsylvania, and the Getty Conservation Institute. Partnerships like this strengthen our shared commitment under the Strategic Framework Agreement to preserve Iraq’s cultural heritage and protect archaeological antiquities.