For eight years the “Iraqi-German Summer Programme” for Iraqi students and practitioners has been held at the German Archaeological Institute in collaboration with university and non-university partners. Because of a strong demand on the part of Iraq, this programme is currently being developed into a German-Iraqi Centre for the Education and Training of Cultural Preservation Experts. The training measures related to building research and preservation and maintenance of monuments as part of the project “Stunde Null – A Future for the Time after the Crisis” take place over six months, partly in Iraq and partly in Germany. Iraqi experts learn comprehensive knowledge which can be used in a clearly defined and practical way for the preservation, restoration or (virtual) reconstruction of buildings and their remains. Awareness of the fact that excellent results can be obtained both manually and using the latest technologies, is a stated training objective.
The maintenance of the rich cultural heritage in Iraq and urgent challenges such as the destructions caused by ISIS in Nimrud and Mosul in north-western Iraq require international exchange and joint programmes. In the future a structured education and training programme will be launched, which will be completed by additional local cooperation projects. A key factor here is that the office of the German Archaeological Institute in Baghdad serves as a visible hub of the German-Iraqi education and training centre for the work on-site. The objective is moreover to also involve the “practitioners” of the Iraqi antiquities departments and museums within these programmes, in order to help support the institutions and stabilise the structures through professionalisation.
This “Stunde Null” measure is embedded in existing cooperation agreements between the German Archaeological Institute and the universities of Baghdad and Kufa, which provide the joint educational and practical programmes. In the long term the results of these educational measures will be compiled in a German-Arab handbook.