Nahrein Network hosts Iraqi minister

26 January 2018

Eleanor Robson with Dr Abdulrazzak al Issa

On 24th of January, the Iraqi Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, Dr Abdulrazzak al Issa, visited at the invitation of Professor Eleanor Robson two of the Nahrein Network's UK partners, the British Library and the National Archives.

Accompanied by the Iraqi Embassy's Cultural Attaché, Dr Hassan al Alak, and the deans of two private sector universities in Iraq, the delegation was warmly welcomed by the British Library team who organised a tour of the building and its collections. Dr Daniel Lowe, Curator of Arabic Collections, and his colleagues prepared several manuscript holdings relating to Iraq for the delegation to view.  One of the other highlights of the visit was a presentation given by Dr Janet Fargion, Lead Curator, World and Traditional Music, whose work on Iraq focuses on recording and digitising Iraq's rich music heritage.

The Iraqi delegation then visited the National Archives, where a tour was organised by Dr Juliette Desplat, the head of Modern Overseas, Intelligence and Security Records. Several important British and Iraqi Government documents and maps from and after the British mandate were also made available for viewing.  

Earlier this month, the Nahrein Network's Co-Investigator, Dr Paul Collins, Curator for Ancient Near East at Oxford's Ashmolean Museum and Chair of the British Institute for the Study of Iraq, visited the University of Kufa, al Najaf, to present a paper on the objectives and activities of the Nahrein Network at the International Conference on the Enhancement of Archaeological Heritage in Iraq. On this 9-day trip to Iraq, Dr Collins also participated in a museums' capacity building workshop held at the Basra Museum. This visit to Iraq saw Dr Collins tour the Kufa Great Mosque and Shrine of Imam Ali, as well as Iraq's Marshes.

The Nahrein Network continues to strengthen its Iraq network with a view to the sustainable development of the country's cultural heritage. Iraqi academics and professionals now have three more weeks before the 15th of February deadline to apply to the Network's Visiting Iraqi Scholarship Scheme. For further information see http://www.ucl.ac.uk/nahrein/visiting-scholarships.