Best Practices

Experiences, people, activities, impressions and approaches to International Cooperation. The practices of European organizations working for the greater world.

All stories

Education and cultural heritage for social cohesion in Iraq

Mar 2017 - Sep 2019 | Iraq

Partner

Alma Mater Studiorum - Leading partner: University of Bologna (UNIBO)
Italia

University of Bologna (UNIBO) (leading partner), University of Turin (UNITO), University of Baghdad (UoB), Qadisiyah University (QU), University of Kufa (UoK), State Board of Antiquities and Heritage of the Republic of Iraq (SBAH), Italian UNESCO Youth Committee. Alma Mater Studiorum- University of Bologna is an Italian public University set in Bologna. It's the eldest University in Europe and at present one of the biggest in Italy, with 11 faculties, 33 departments and over 80.000 students. On the AMITIE CODE project, the University will engage the CIRSFID (Interdepartmental Centre for Research in the History, Philosophy and Sociology of Law, and in Legal Informatics) and will in particular value the experience and positive results obtained through its Master’s Course in Human Rights, Migrations, Development. CIRSFID was founded in 1986 by Enrico Pattaro and is named for Guido Fassò (a legal philosopher) and Augusto Gaudenzi (a legal historian). Its mission is to promote research in the philosophy of law, in legal informatics and technology law, in the sociology and history of law, and in bioethics. In each of these areas the centre pursues research and publication activities; offers undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate courses; and provides consultation and services working in collaboration with national as well as international organizations. The centre draws on the expertise of researchers and faculty from the University of Bologna, and in particular from the departments in areas of law, philosophy, computer science and medicine. Among CIRSFID’s many Doctoral Programmes and Master’s Courses is the Master’s Course in Human Rights, Migrations, Development, which is a one-year programme designed for graduate students and professionals who want to specialise in the area of Human Rights, Migration and Development studies. The central objective of the Master’s Programme is to train students to be highly specialised and qualified to conceive, promote and manage interventions in the fields of development cooperation, the promotion and protection of human rights and the reception and integration of migrants. Through specific sessions on International Law, Economics, History, Philosophy of Law, Political Science and Cultural Anthropology, students acquire a multidisciplinary and rich set of competences which are extremely important to understand migration and development phenomena in their complex and multi-faceted nature and to fight against any form of economic, political and social exclusion. In the 17-year history of the Master’s Programme a consistent number of human rights scholars and internationally recognised experts on development and migration have been invited, and hundreds of students from more than 30 countries have been successfully trained as most of them are actively engaged in the domain of Human Rights in Italy and abroad, working for governmental and non-governmental organisations or conducting research on the matter in the academic domain.

Eduu is the verb "to know" in the Akkadian language that was spoken by the inhabitants of ancient Mesopotamia from the 3rd through the 1st millennia BC – seeks to create an EU-Iraq partnership in the area of education and cultural heritage enhancement, connecting Universities, secondary schools, and museums. This partnership will work together with the aim of enhancing the pluralism of Iraqi civil society, raising awareness on the diverse and multicultural past of Iraq. EDUU has five specific objectives:

  1. To increase the knowledge of pre-Islamic societies in Iraq through archaeological and environmental research in the governorates of Al-Qadisiyah and Wasit, and raise awareness on Iraqi cultural heritage.
  2. To better protect cultural heritage and to promote its use as a tool for dialogue between different sectors of society by improving the skills of SBAH personnel and community leaders.
  3. To promote interest in the common cultural heritage and identity of Iraqi society among younger generations through courses in secondary schools and rural communities.
  4. To improve the local museum assets and engage civil society in cultural heritage initiatives promoted by museums.
  5. To promote and disseminate in Iraq and also internationally the value of cultural heritage as a tool for community building.
These objectives will be achieved by sharing knowledge and expertise, and by improving the technical and management capacity of target groups, final beneficiaries and of course the partners themselves. The project workflow has been structured according to seven different Work Packages, of which four are operational and three are managerial and dissemination activities. The following activities will be implemented to pursue the objectives of the project.

 UNIBO team and SBAH representatives meeting locals during fieldwork in Qadisiyah governorate
UNIBO team and SBAH representatives meeting locals during fieldwork in Qadisiyah governorate

1- Archaeological, Cultural and Environmental Research GENERAL AIMS: 1) To increase the knowledge of pre-Islamic societies in Iraq through archaeological and environmental research in strategically important areas; 2) To raise awareness on the Iraqi cultural heritage in the national academic community by sharing and disseminating promptly the results of this research. WORKFLOW: The action will start with the composition of the collaborative research groups, formed by EU and Iraqi researchers, scholars, and operators. The EU partners will carry out three archaeological campaigns in Iraq in the first 10 months of the projects staying in Iraq one month each time. This joint field research will focus on three theme areas that will be better developed by the joint research groups: Ancient landscapes and management of present natural resources; reconstructing pre-Islamic societies and identities; the past and present of gender and social inequality. Together with the fieldwork on ancient past, community-based research will be carried out by Iraqi universities targeting present communities with the aim of investigating, not only traditional ways of life and coping mechanisms, but also the complexity of behavioral and cultural choices in ways that cannot be deducted from the study of material culture alone. At the end of fieldwork, 3 conferences will be organized in the 3 partner Iraqi universities, in order to illustrate the results of the research conducted with scholars and students alike. Additionally, a general academic conference will be organized after the completion of fieldwork.

Drone image of Tell Dlehim with its oval-shaped temple area
Drone image of Tell Dlehim with its oval-shaped temple area

2 - Training of Heritage Personnel GENERAL AIMS The overall objective of this action is that of strengthening the capabilities of local cultural heritage operators and community leaders to promote using Iraqi heritage as a tool for dialogue between different sectors of society. WORKFLOW will feature specific training for this cultural heritage personnel from SBAH and other associations. Also, we deem important to involve community leaders from rural areas targeted by the action. We aim at raising awareness in the communities that live by archaeological sites in order to enhance the degree of safeguarding over cultural heritage. After having selected the candidates, the initial phase will consist of training in the field for 30 SBAH operators, carried out during the fieldwork campaigns in the regions of Qadisiyah and Wasit. The training will focus on modern techniques for surveying, excavating, recording, cataloguing and conserving. The training courses will be organized in different headquarters: in the newly-reopened “Italian-Iraqi Institute of Archaeological Sciences” in Baghdad; in the SBAH headquarters of Qadisiyah; and the SBAH headquarters of Kufa.

EDUU training activities at Tulul Al-Baqarat, expedition house in Naoumaniyah
EDUU training activities at Tulul Al-Baqarat, expedition house in Naoumaniyah
Project kick-off meeting in Diwaniyah. From left: Qadisiyah Governor Sami Alhasnawi, Ambassador Patrick Simmonet – Head of the European Delegation in Iraq, Prof. Ferdous Al-Turaihy - Vice Chancellor for Scientific Affairs, University of Al-Qadisiyah; Prof. Nicolò Marchetti, UNIBO – EDUU project coordinator
Project kick-off meeting in Diwaniyah. From left: Qadisiyah Governor Sami Alhasnawi, Ambassador Patrick Simmonet – Head of the European Delegation in Iraq, Prof. Ferdous Al-Turaihy - Vice Chancellor for Scientific Affairs, University of Al-Qadisiyah; Prof. Nicolò Marchetti, UNIBO – EDUU project coordinator

3 - Workshops for Secondary School Students GENERAL AIMS: The main objective is that of promoting interest in the common cultural heritage and pre-Islamic identity of Iraqi society among younger generations. The target groups are secondary school students. WORKFLOW: The first phase will feature a selection process of university students from the 3 partner universities in order to single out 90 candidates that will subsequently carry out the workshops in the secondary schools. The second step will consist in defining the topics that will be covered during the workshops to be carried out in schools. Then, teaching materials (in Arabic) for training will be developed on the basis of new fieldwork results and according to the three research pathways followed in doing fieldwork. The overall aim of this task is that of stimulating a dialogue upon the importance of the pre-Islamic civilizations that shaped not only the land in which the Iraqi people inhabit today, but also contributed to shape social landscapes. A further course of action that we envisage is that of organizing school trips in the heritage sites targeted by fieldwork. The partners will also organize open days in each secondary school selected for workshops in order to have trainees present to their families the activities carried out.

Ambassador Simmonet visiting the University of Qadisiyah Museum with Prof. Ferdous Al-Turaihy and project member Prof. Mohammed Abdulsada, University of Qadisiyah
Ambassador Simmonet visiting the University of Qadisiyah Museum with Prof. Ferdous Al-Turaihy and project member Prof. Mohammed Abdulsada, University of Qadisiyah

4 - Development of Museum Learning Itineraries GENERAL AIMS: To create strategies for empowering local and national museums that aim at highlighting the importance of Mesopotamian civilizations for promoting a sense of modern Iraq based also on the shared pre-Islamic identity. WORKFLOW: The first stage will consist of the assessment of potential development points in the museums of Baghdad (Iraq Museum), Kufa, and Diwaniya, with the aim of promoting the importance of regional history as part of a shared past bonding the local communities and their territories. Then, we will proceed to design and develop the learning itineraries and materials based on fieldwork results and the goals of the project. Once installed, we intend to test the new learning itineraries by organizing pilot visits for secondary school students and community leaders in order to evaluate the effectiveness of the new materials. In order to disseminate activities carried out by museum institutions, we will create a marketing campaign to attract visitors and we will organize guided tours curated by the student associations, under guidance of the Italian UNESCO Youth committee.

Group photo taken during the project Kick-off meeting at the University of Qadisiyah, March 30, 2017
Group photo taken during the project Kick-off meeting at the University of Qadisiyah, March 30, 2017
Survey area of UNIBO – QADIS field project with main archaeological sites. EDUU locations and Partners
Survey area of UNIBO – QADIS field project with main archaeological sites. EDUU locations and Partners
Layout of the site of Tell Drehem – the ancient city of Puzrish Dagan, administrative capital of the Ur III kingdom – according to the new UNIBO surveys
Layout of the site of Tell Drehem – the ancient city of Puzrish Dagan, administrative capital of the Ur III kingdom – according to the new UNIBO surveys