Training and Capacity Building
The first component of the initiative is training and capacity building to help develop long-term professional capabilities that will enable the Iraq State Board of Antiquities and Heritage (SBAH) to regain stewardship of Iraq's cultural sites. It has focused on training for SBAH personnel in heritage conservation and management and strives to connect them with the international heritage conservation professional community. The GCI, WMF, and SBAH have held major training programs, as well as short-term training. The initiative also has supported English language courses in Baghdad and Mosul for SBAH personnel. English language training has been an important measure to increase the effectiveness of the initiative's other training activities and provides SBAH personnel with the ability to better interface with the international conservation community and to utilize English-language conservation resources. In addition, the initiative has donated to the Iraq National Museum Library a significant number of publications on archaeology and cultural heritage conservation and management, as well as provided other pertinent reference materials.
To date the following training programs have been conducted:
- A one-week program of instruction in the use of geographic information systems (GIS) was held for six SBAH personnel in September 2004 in Jordan, with support from UNESCO.
- A month-long training program took place in Jordan in November and December 2004 for sixteen SBAH staff. This program was supported through funding from UNESCO and with cooperation and logistical assistance in a variety of forms from the Jordanian Department of Antiquities; it was hosted by the American Center of Oriental Research (ACOR) in Amman, Jordan. This course included modules on rapid site and building description and assessment, documentation and recording, and database and GIS applications. The course held instruction in the use of a variety of technological tools that were provided in part through funding from UNESCO, and donations from the Environmental Systems Research Institute, Inc. (ESRI). These tools included computers, GIS, database and other technical software, GPS units, total survey stations, digital cameras, laser distance meters, and digital scanners. Experts from English Heritage provided metric survey instruction, a U.S. National Park Service expert taught assessment of site hazards to personnel, and professionals from the Jordanian Department of Antiquities offered training in archaeological site and architectural condition and significance assessment, and presented the work of their department in the management of archaeological sites in Jordan.
- A one-week GPS course for eight SBAH personnel was held, with the support of UNESCO, at ACOR in April 2005 to reinforce and extend GPS training from the November-December 2004 course.
- The initiative trained for one week in April 2005 three SBAH personnel from Babylon, including the site director, in rapid site recording and assessment as part of a longer training program hosted and organized by the British Museum. The initiative's involvement occurred with financial support from UNESCO and through coordination assistance by the Institute of Archaeology, University College London.
- The initiative supported the attendance of one SBAH participant at the month-long ARIS (Architectural Records, Inventories and Information Systems For Conservation) training course hosted by ICCROM (International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property) in Rome in April 2005. The course was designed and offered by ICCROM and the GCI.
- A ten-day metric survey course was conducted in June 2005 in Jordan for eight SBAH personnel. The course—lead by specialists from English Heritage and Leica Geosystems, with the support of UNESCO, and hosted by ACOR—reinforced and extended the metric survey training of the November-December 2004 course.
- A month-long training program for twenty SBAH personnel and one Iraq State Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities representative took place in August and September 2005 in Jordan with the support of UNESCO and the Jordanian Department of Antiquities. The course, hosted by ACOR, focused on reinforcement of rapid site assessment and recording methods, international conservation conventions and charters, international conservation organizations, and site management planning. It included a review of the World Heritage Convention and World Heritage procedures through the participation of UNESCO's World Heritage Centre. It also benefited from the participation of representatives of the Petra National Trust.
- The initiative supported the participation of two SBAH personnel in a fourteen-week training course dealing with the use of satellite imagery and GIS to identify threats and disturbances to archaeological sites. The course was held under the direction of Professor Elizabeth Stone at the State University of New York (SUNY)-Stony Brook between January 20 and May 20, 2006. The training has helped support SBAH's newly created remote sensing section.
Last updated: September 2008