Spring Break, the Penn
Museum provided a sneak preview of its Treasures from
the Royal Tombs of Ur exhibition to museum specialists
who work at museums in Iraq. There were 15 women and
8 men in the group which is in the U.S. for a five-week
intensive study tour sponsored by the U.S.
Department of State through a grant to the Council of American
Overseas Research Centers in partnership with the Smithsonian
Museum of History.
photo by Marguerite Miller
Heritage Institute for Young Iraqi Specialists:
to the Penn Museum
Good afternoon. On
behalf of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs
of the Department
of State, it is an honor for me to be in Philadelphia with
the Iraqi museum specialists who are here to meet with
their counterparts at the University of Pennsylvania Museum
of Archaeology and Anthropology.
Our Iraqi visitors who traveled from Babylon,
Diala, Najaf, and Baghdad to Philadelphia today as a part
of the Cultural Heritage Institute for Iraq, will measure
their journey in far more than miles. Today, in particular,
they have the chance to help their country reconnect with
their own vital and rich heritage.
like to take this opportunity to thank Dr. Gerald Margolis,
the Deputy Director of the University
of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology
and Dr. Richard Zettler, Associate Curator for the Museum's
Near East Section, for your partnership in this program.
Cultural Heritage Institute for Iraq is a partnership
with the Council of American
Overseas Research Center, the Smithsonian Institution's
National Museum of Natural History, the Iraq National Museum
and the Iraq Ministry of Culture. Dr. Mary Ellen Lane,
the Executive Director of the Council of American Overseas
Research Centers, is also with us today.
country the Iraqi professionals are receiving the training
needed to run Iraq's museums
and help to preserve artifacts and archaeological sites.
The program includes lectures, a two-week practicum, and
intensive interaction with U.S. experts and professionals
in cultural preservation and archaeology. The group
is going to be in Washington, D.C., Santa Fe, and New York
City as well as Philadelphia.
to protect and conserve cultural heritage unites both
our countries. Iraq is the site of
some of the world's greatest ancient civilizations and
the United States is committed to understanding and preserving
the world's cultural heritage.
When our Assistant Secretary Patricia Harrison
visited Iraq last fall with a State Department delegation,
her goal was to learn what would help Iraqis re-engage
through educational and cultural exchanges after years
of Iraqi museum specialists to Philadelphia, builds on
what was started even before
that initial trip to Baghdad.
of Educational and Cultural Affairs chairs a government
interagency group established
one year ago to provide both public and private sector
support for the rebuilding of the cultural heritage infrastructure
of Iraq--a heritage that documents over 10,000 years of
the development of civilization.
We began by working with the staff of the
Iraq National Museum and responded to their requests for
training programs, computers, office furnishings, photographic
equipment, and information and communication technology.
We look forward to the museum re-opening soon, enabling
a new generation of young Iraqis to learn about their culture
and connect to their heritage.
October, Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage in
Washington and Ambassador Bremer in
Baghdad, joined by Iraqi educators, announced the resumption
of the Fulbright Scholarship program. For the first time
in 14 years, we now have Iraqi Fulbrighters studying in
the United States in the fields of business, health, science,
journalism, and law.
are pleased that this group is here. This Cultural Heritage
Institute aims to prepare the next
generation of Iraqi cultural stewards to build their skills
in the field of archaeology and cultural preservation as
well as establish partnerships between Iraqi and American
institutions and colleagues.
supports exchange programs such as this to promote respect
and increase mutual understanding
between the people of the United States and the people
of other countries. Each year, our Bureau manages over
30,000 exchanges. The Cultural Heritage Institute
gives us the opportunity to promote respect and understanding
between Americans and Iraqis.
has worked for many years, as a strong advocate for developing
the capacity of women
for leadership positions, so we are particularly delighted
to note on International Women's Day that two-thirds of
this group is female.
It is fitting
that this city is playing a key role in their American
journey. Philadelphians have
great experience welcoming visitors from abroad. The private,
non-profit International Visitors Council of Philadelphia,
works with a network of volunteer citizen diplomats, bringing
Philadelphians and foreign guests together, linking the
city's businesses and institutions with hundreds of rising
and established leaders each year.
I am sure
they are enjoying their time here in Philadelphia. Thank
you so much for hosting us.
Borja, M '85, Office of Academic Programs,
of Educational and Cultural Affairs, U.S. Department
by Marguerite F. Miller
of the Iraqi women near a model of an attendant to royalty,
created to show how some of the jewelry would have been
Iraqi visitors admiring the Ram in the Thicket, made
of gold, silver, lapis lazuli, copper, shell, red limestone
and bitumen, ca. 2650-2550 B.C.--one of the 200 ancient
Sumarian treasures from the site of Ur in Mesopotamia