Iraqi-German expert dialogue: “Iraq’s Cultural Heritage at Archaeological Sites and Museums”

The Iraqi-German forum for expert dialogue, “Iraq’s Cultural Heritage at Archaeological Sites and Museums”, was inaugurated in 2015. An initiative of Prof. Dr. Markus Hilgert, Director of the Vorderasiatisches Museum (VAM) in Berlin and the Republic of Iraq’s Ambassador to UNESCO, this Iraqi-German contact group was set up in close consultation with the German Commission for UNESCO. Its purpose is to plan and coordinate a programme of capacity-building and cooperation with the aim of preserving, restoring and researching the cultural heritage of Iraq, and presenting it to the wider public.

The bilateral contact group is made up of experts from different specialist areas and institutions representing science, society and politics. Its goal, in the first instance, is the preservation, scientific study and public display of archaeological cultural assets in Iraqi museums, and the group is working towards putting in place the political, legal, scientific, operational and infrastructure foundations to make possible a sustainable transfer of knowledge in support of this. Furthermore, it is hoped that these capacity-building measures will foster an appreciation of ancient, pre-Islamic cultures in Iraq and raise awareness of its shared ancient past, thus contributing to cohesion within the country and amongst its divided population. At the same time, there is the potential for encouraging a greater respect for other, non-Islamic societies and religious communities.

Funding / Project partner: The bilateral expert dialogue is financed by funds from the German Foreign Office.