(Jan. 10, 2014) -- For several years, Iraqi and Kurdish conservationists have struggled to protect Iraq's more than 10,000 cultural heritage sites amidst the turmoil of armed conflicts in the region. Bombardments, theft and damage from military occupations have harmed many of the region's cultural sites.
Over the last year, the Center for Cultural Sustainability (CCS) in the UTSA College of Architecture and other organizations have worked with the World Monuments Fund (WMF) to train Iraq's historic conservationists.
Recently, the first class of conservationists graduated from WMF's Heritage Management Training Program in a private ceremony at the Iraqi Institute for the Conservation of Antiquities and Heritage in Erbil, Iraq.
San Antonio Conservation Society Endowed UTSA Professor and CCS Director William Dupont, FAIA, and UTSA architecture professor and CCS researcher Angela Lombardi were among the instructors invited to participate in the program, which was sponsored by the U.S. Department of State's Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation and the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. Between the two of them, they provided five weeks of intensive training in three visits.
"We were honored to offer our expertise to the highly motivated professionals in our classes during our time in Iraq," said Dupont. "I'm happy to report the value of cultural heritage conservation is universally acknowledged."
The training covered many heritage management topics including historic preservation techniques, the value of a World Heritage Site nomination, and guidelines from the International Council on Monuments and Sites. The classes frequently visited and studied surrounding sites, conducted preservation exercises, and attended seminars and workshops.
The success of the course led WMF to offer a similar training in Erbil later this year with UTSA and other organizations.
Since 2007, WMF has worked extensively to support the preservation of cultural preservation in Iraq, particularly in Babylon.
"We are delighted at the success of this program," said Lisa Ackerman, executive vice president of WMF. "Training a new generation of heritage specialists in Iraq will increase the capacity for proper management of historic sites in the country. We look forward to the 2014 program."
World Monuments Fund in Iraq
The World Monuments Fund has worked in Iraq since 2007. With support from the U.S. State Department's Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation, and in collaboration with the Iraq State Board of Antiquities and Heritage, WMF is nearing completion of a site management and conservation plan for Babylon, one of the world's most important archaeological sites.
In 2013, as a continuation of its commitment to working in Iraq, WMF developed the archaeological site management and historic preservation program to engage U.S. university faculty with local Iraqi and Kurdish professionals, and to frame their work and knowledge within an Iraqi preservation context.
World Monuments Fund
The World Monuments Fund is the leading independent organization devoted to saving the world's most treasured places. For nearly 50 years, working in 100 countries, its highly skilled experts have applied proven and effective techniques to preserve important architectural and cultural heritage sites around the globe.
Through partnerships with local communities, funders and governments, WMF inspires an enduring commitment to stewardship for future generations. Headquartered in New York, WMF has offices and affiliates worldwide. Connect online with WMF on Twitter and Facebook.
The annual Center for Innovation, Technology and Entrepreneurship (CITE) 100K Venture Competition and Exposition will be held on the Main Campus on Dec. 1. Twenty-eight teams from across the university will exhibit their project; six teams will compete for a prize pool of more than $100,000 in funding to launch their new venture / company. More than 650 students have participated in launching new technology ventures.
Biotechnology, Sciences and Engineering (BSE 2.102), Main Campus
This concert features 50 community children performing music in the UTSA Downtown String Project Winter Concert. The children, led by UTSA music students studying to be music teachers, will join together in playing the Theme from Batman at their concert. The Batman of San Antonio, a local celebrity figure, will make an appearance at the concert. This event is free.
Buena Vista Theatre, Downtown Campus
Graduate student uses storytelling to highlight important issues facing children
As touch screens and e-books demand more and more attention from both casual readers and scholars, many people say the handwriting is on the wall for the printed page.
At UTSA, the handwriting is on the wall for a library that doesn't have any printed books.
Since March 2010, the bookless library in the Applied Engineering and Technology Building has given UTSA students an innovative way to read, research and work with each other to solve problems.
With ultra-modern furniture and a décor featuring desktop computers, scanners and LCD screens, the AET Library is designed to engage students in an online format. But it also offers group study niches and study rooms with whiteboards and glass walls on which students can write. The space encourages teamwork, communications and problem solving for the next generation of scientists and professional engineers.
Did you know? The UTSA AET Library is the nation's first completely bookless library on a college or university campus. It served as a model for Bexar County's first-in-the-nation public bookless library system and one of its branches, the Dr. Ricardo Romo BiblioTech.
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