As Iraq continues to face unprecedented damage, degradation and destruction to its cultural heritage, only a long-term plan and strategy with a view to the sustainable rehabilitation of the country’s cultural infrastructure can address its manifold challenges. Iraq’s leading heritage institution, the State Board of Antiquities and Heritage (SBAH), proposes to open an international dialogue that will bring together Iraqi and world experts, practitioners, academics, NGOs, development agencies and policy-makers and communities concerned with addressing Iraq’s cultural priorities for a two-day Symposium on The sustainable development of Iraq’s cultural heritage.

Key panelists and institutions concerned with the rehabilitation, protection and promotion of Iraq’s rich cultural history will meet to actively address the consolidation of SBAH’s strategy and the implementation of intervention measures designed to strengthen the preservation and protection of Iraq’s heritage. This conference will invite specialist recommendations for practical steps and concrete support measures that will counter the detrimental impact of years of neglect and destruction of Iraq’s cultural infrastructure. These issues will be addressed during six panel discussions that will be practice-oriented and strategy-focused. Presentations, sessions and discussions will aim to establish collaborations with a view to building networks of support and dialogue in order to invest in practical, on-the-ground work.

SBAH is the main institution concerned with the cultural continuity of the country’s rich past. This institution is currently undergoing fundamental reform. A number of major interventions to modernise and restructure SBAH and its relevant directories and units, including its museums, are currently underway. The conference is part of SBAH’s strategy for the improvement and strengthening of Iraq’s cultural infrastructure.


The conference will cover the following topics: 

  • SBAH’s reforms and strategies for the future;
  • Cultural continuity and sustainable development of Iraq’s cultural heritage infrastructure;
  • Looting, illicit trafficking and the legal environment;
  • Conservation and preservation;
  • Excavation, survey and knowledge production; 
  • UNESCO World Heritage sites, international interventions and programmes; 
  • Universities, experts, museums and the potential for collaboration and partnerships. 


The conference has the following objectives: 

  • Identifying challenges concerning the rehabilitation of Iraq’s cultural heritage and infrastructure;
  • Working towards partnerships and collaborations in relation to SBAH’s strategy and vision;
  • Improving Iraqi scholarship and knowledge exchange as a way to strengthen international connections and partnerships;
  • Cultivating partnerships in support of Iraq’s museums, cultural institutions and communities;
  • Strengthening communication and ease of work for international organisations, academics, concerned individuals and development agencies;
  • Ensuring greater co-production of knowledge between Iraqi and international academics and experts.

The conference is organised by the State Board of Antiquities and Heritage (SBAH) and the Ministry of Culture,Tourism and Antiquities.

The two-day conference will take place at the Al Rasheed Hotel, Baghdad, on 14th and 15th January 2020. Sessions will take place in Arabic and English with simultaneous translation. For invited delegates, and for those who need it, flights and hotel expenses will be covered by the conference. Local transport and airport transfers from Baghdad Airport to al Rasheed Hotel and back will be organised by SBAH. 

The conference will comprise 6 open panel discussions with relevant institutions, organisations and experts, consisting of short presentations by the chair / co-chair and the panelists followed by an open discussion.

For further information email the organisers on 

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