Safeguarding, Enhancing and Managing Archaeological Heritage and Museums in Iraq: The Contribution of the EDUU Project
Chapter from the book: Bonnie, R et al. 2023. Living Communities and Their Archaeologies in the Middle East.
Over four decades of conflicts and instability have severely deteriorated Iraq’s social and political systems. These long-term trends have also progressively damaged the rich heritage of the country and repeatedly weakened its cultural infrastructures. Against this backdrop, in recent years, international institutions and funding bodies have promoted initiatives to revive and relaunch the Iraqi cultural heritage which is considered a critical component to support the wider post-conflicts recovery as well as an important player in the country’s post-oil reality. Among these, between 2016 and 2020, a European-Iraqi partnership launched the “EDUU - Education and Cultural Heritage Enhancement for Social Cohesion in Iraq” project, funded by the EuropeAid Programme of the European Union. The project focused on improving education and enhancing cultural heritage by connecting Iraqi universities, heritage institutions, secondary schools, museums and local communities. To this end, the EDUU project implemented a wide range of activities using archaeological, ethnoarchaeological, cultural heritage, and community engagement methodologies. This paper provides a critical analysis of the project results and lessons learned together with future outlooks to foster social cohesion through cultural heritage in the country.