Iraq Education and Training News


German Archaeologists Discover Ancient City of Mardaman

Translations of Assyrian writings found by archaeologists from the University of Tübingen have yielded a secret lost to history: The place where the clay tablets were found – Bassetki, in Autonomous Region of Kurdistan in Iraq – appears to be the ancient royal city of Mardaman.

This important northern Mesopotamian city is cited in ancient sources, but researchers did not know where it lay. It existed between 2,200 and 1,200 years BC, was at times a kingdom or a provincial capital and was conquered and destroyed several times.

Archaeologists from Tübingen’s Institute for Ancient Near Eastern Studies excavated the archive of 92 clay tablets in summer 2017. Headed by Professor Peter Pfälzner, the team is working at the Bronze Age site with Dr. Hasan Qasim of the Duhok Antiquities Department. The clay tablets date to the Middle Assyrian Empire, about 1,250 BC.

The small, partly crumbling tablets have now been read painstakingly by the University of Heidelberg philologist Dr Betina Faist, who is cooperating as specialist for the Assyrian language with the archaeological project at Tübingen. She used photographs of the texts, which bit by bit shed light on the history of the city and the region at the time of the Middle Assyrian Empire.

To the archaeologists’ surprise, Dr. Faist was able to identify the find site as the ancient city of Mardama. As the cuneiform scripts show, it was the administrative seat of a Middle Assyrian governor. This reveals a new, previously unknown province of the empire, which straddled large parts of Northern Mesopotamia and Syria in the 13th century BC. Even the name of the Assyrian governor, Assur-nasir, and his tasks and activities are described in the tablets. “All of a sudden it became clear that our excavations had found an Assyrian governor’s palace,” says Pfälzner.

At the same time, the translation reveals the location of the city named as Mardaman in Old Babylonian sources from around 1,800 BC, and which is likely to be the Assyrian Mardama. According to the sources, it was the center of a kingdom which was conquered by one of the greatest rulers of the time, Shamshi-Adad I, in 1,786 BC and integrated into his Upper Mesopotamian empire. However, a few years later it became an independent kingdom under a Hurrian ruler called Tish-ulme.

A period of prosperity followed, but shortly later the city was destroyed by the Turukkaeans, people from the Zagros Mountains to the north. “The cuneiform texts and our findings from the excavations in Bassetki now make it clear that that was not the end,” Pfälzner says. “The city existed continuously and achieved a final significance as a Middle Assyrian governor’s seat between 1,250 and 1,200 BC.”

The history of Mardaman can be traced back even further, to the early periods of Mesopotamian civilization. Sources from the Third Dynasty of Ur, approximately 2,100–2,000 BC, portray it as an important city on the northern periphery of the Mesopotamian empire. The oldest source goes back to the Akkadian Empire, which is considered the first empire in history. It mentions that the city was destroyed a first time around 2250 BC by Naram-Sin, the most powerful Akkadian ruler.

“The clay tablets of Bassetki make an important new contribution to the geography of Mesopotamia,” the Assyriologist Betina Faist explains. This discovery may provide clues to the locations of other early cities in Mesopotamia, Pfälzner says. “Mardaman certainly rose to be an influential city and a regional kingdom, based on its position on the trade routes between Mesopotamia, Anatolia and Syria. At times it was an adversary of the great Mesopotamian powers. So the University of Tübingen’s future excavations in Bassetki are sure to yield many more exciting discoveries.”

The Bronze Age city site of Bassetki was discovered in 2013 by archaeologists from the Tübingen collaborative research center 1070, ResourceCultures. The clay tablets found in 2017 had been deposited in a pottery vessel used as an archive, and had been wrapped in a thick covering of clay along with other vessels. “They may have been hidden this way shortly after the surrounding building had been destroyed. Perhaps the information inside it was meant to be protected and preserved for posterity,” Pfälzner explains.

(Source: Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen)

Startup Bootcamp: ‘Entrepreneurship for All’ Programme

Startup Bootcamp, an entrepreneurship training to promote development of innovative business ideas among young innovators, entrepreneurs and software developers from displaced, refugee and host communities, took place on 4-5 May in Erbil, Kurdistan Region of Iraq.

The event was supported by IOM Iraq, and organized by Five One Labs, a start-up incubator based in Iraq that assists displaced and conflict affected entrepreneurs develop their businesses.

More than 30 entrepreneurs from across Iraq and Syria received training in business plan development and coaching from mentors; they also had the opportunity to pitch ideas to panels of judges.

The training included: entrepreneurial mindset development, customer interview techniques, ideation, business model canvassing, prototyping and pitch development. Mentors and judges included local business leaders, innovation experts, development agency staff, academics, staff from the United States Consulate in Erbil and IOM staff.

In the weeks leading up to the training, participants were chosen through a rigorous selection process based on a proposed business idea, understanding of entrepreneurship and English proficiency.

Ideas included: e-commerce platforms for groceries, books, and other products; virtual reality rehabilitation games for people with disabilities; an education platform to teach soft skills and another to teach the Kurdish language; a dental marketplace; HR management systems; and a Syrian shipping business using an Uber-like business model to send documents with travellers.

The winner was determined in a lightning round face-off between the first-place winner from the individual competition – the creator of a weight loss game – against the first-place winners from the team competition. The winning team, Darwan Soap production, is developing and marketing a soap made of natural ingredients using traditional soap-making techniques. Team members include two junior physicians, a medical student and a business manager.

“During the Startup Bootcamp we studied our customer segment and built our business model. We are excited to develop this natural soap made from the seeds of a tree that grows in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq,” said Shehin Jihad, who initiated the idea. “We are using our medical knowledge to analyse potential ingredients that are helpful for people with sensitive skin and skin conditions,” she added.

First-place winners receive: membership in the TechHub co-working space in Erbil for one month, continued business mentoring from international business experts and entrepreneurs, modest funding to cover business expenses (USD 150), and an opportunity to apply for a USD 1,000 business grant to launch their ventures.

This Startup Bootcamp is part of the ‘Entrepreneurship for All’ project, which is managed by Five One Labs in cooperation with various community partners and sponsored by IOM, with funding from the US Department of State, Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM).

Entrepreneurship for All is a two-month long series of on-line and in-person business and leadership trainings across northern Iraq. Training sessions include: identifying market gaps and customer needs; creative business idea development; market and customer research; and marketing. Participants include Syrian refugees, displaced Iraqis and host community members; more than 200 people will participate. Training is provided in Arabic, Kurdish and English.

The project aims to build cohesion between entrepreneurs who have been internally displaced and the local community through entrepreneurial ventures that contribute to the local economy. In addition to the series of trainings for aspiring entrepreneurs, ten existing start-up companies launched by displaced and conflict-affected entrepreneurs will be offered advisory, legal and financial support to scale-up.

Entrepreneurship for All is implemented in the framework of the IOM 3RP programme supported by PRM. The overall aim of this programme is to provide Syrian refugees, IDPs and vulnerable host communities with access to education and employment opportunities.

For more information please contact: Sandra Black in IOM Iraq, Tel: +964 751 234 2550, Email: sblack@iom.int Alice Bosley at Five One Labs: Email: alice@fiveonelabs.org

(Source: IOM)

Women in Iraqi Refugee Camps Taught to Sew

Vulnerable women living in northern Iraq’s refugee camps are being taught how to sew.

Paula Horsfall, from Berkshire, United Kingdom, has collected old sewing machines and transported them to Iraq, where skills the women learn keep them off the dangerous streets of the refugee camp and allow them to make money for their families and children.

The cloth they sew is the native jajim and Paula has struck a deal with a multi-national fashion retailer to provide the finished garments for non-profit sale, with proceeds going back to the women and charity.

Click here to view the full video.

(Source: BBC)

Applications Open for Humphrey Fellowship Program

The United States Embassy in Iraq is pleased to announce the annual competition for the Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program.

This one-year Fellowship program is offered to young and mid-career professionals who have a proven track record of leadership, a public service commitment, and the capacity to take full advantage of a self-defined program of independent non-degree study at a leading U.S. university. The program awards a certificate from the U.S. government; it is not designed to deliver an advanced degree.

The Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program brings accomplished professionals from designated countries around the world to the United States at a midpoint in their careers for a year of graduate-level academic course work and professional development activities. The Humphrey Program was initiated in 1978 to honor the memory and accomplishments of the late Senator and Vice President, Hubert H. Humphrey. Fellows are selected on their potential for leadership and commitment to public service.

The program provides a basis for establishing lasting ties between citizens of the United States and their professional counterparts in other countries, fostering an exchange of knowledge and mutual understanding throughout the world.

Fellowships are granted competitively to professional candidates with a commitment to public service in either the public or private sector.

Eligible Fields/Sectors:

Below is a list of eligible fields from which Embassies/Commissions may choose to target in order to match country priorities.

Sustainable Development

  • Agricultural and rural development
  • Economic development
  • Finance and banking
  • Natural resources, environmental policy, and climate change
  • Urban and regional planning

Democratic Institution Building

  • Communications/journalism
  • Law and human rights
  • Public policy analysis and public administration
  • Trafficking in persons policy and prevention
  • Technology policy and management
  • Human resource management

Education

  • Educational administration, planning and policy
  • Higher education administration
  • Teaching of English as a foreign language

Public Health

  • Public health policy and management
  • HIV/AIDS policy and prevention
  • Substance abuse education, treatment and prevention

To be eligible for a Humphrey Fellowship, applicants must have:

  • A first university degree
  • Five years of full-time professional experience
  • Demonstrated leadership qualities and a record of public service
  • Demonstrated English language ability
  • Limited prior experience in the U.S.

For more information on the program and how to apply, please visit https://iq.usembassy.gov/education-culture/exchange-programs/hubert-humphrey-fellowship/

For questions about the program, please send an email to FulbrightIraq@state.gov or call us at 07704431572.

Application deadline is June 16, 2018.

(Source: US Embassy)

IBBC Spring Conference a Huge Success

The Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) held its annual Spring Conference at the Mansion House in London and a newly formatted second day forum for Iraqi and UK SMEs to discuss business opportunities at the Royal Overseas League on the 24th and 25th of April.

The event proved to be a huge success, with record attendances and expert speaker contribution fully captivating the positive and progressive forecast for Iraq in 2018. The Conference was chaired by Rasmi Al Jabri, Deputy Chairman and Iraq representative of IBBC, who’s significant standing in Iraq was fundamental to the success of the event.

The first day of the conference, entitled ‘Iraq: Building a diversified and modern economy’ was held at the Mansion House, home of the Lord Mayor of London and featured numerous Iraqi and UK politicians, industry experts, academics, government advisers and more. The day featured the newly incorporated roundtable discussions, which facilitated greater face time with industry experts and politicians and more in-depth discussions.

The main panel sessions focused on a wide range of sectors and industries to fully address the investment opportunities, need for diversification of the economy and progress of Iraq over the last year:

SESSION 1: FinanceMajor projects – the criteria for and process of obtaining finance for projects in Iraq

SESSION 2: TechnologyDeveloping Iraq’s digital economy’

SESSION 3: Energy and IndustryThe need for locally available products and services – how two sectors can help diversify Iraq’s Economy’

SESSION 4: Education and TrainingDeveloping human capital in Iraq’

A high-level delegation from the Government of Iraq was present, including H.E. Mohammed Shyaa Al-Sudani, Minister of Social Affairs & Acting Minister of Industry and Minerals, Mr Khadhem Al Hassani, Economic Advisor to the Prime Minister of Iraq and H.E. Dr Salih Husain Ali Al Tamimi, the Iraqi Ambassador to the UK, who were all invited to give opening addresses to IBBC Members and guests at the conference.

H.E. Dr Abdul Kariem Al Faisal, Chairman of the PM’s Advisory Commission and Mr Abbas Nasser, Legal Advisor to the Ministry of Transport and H.E. Nawzad Hadi, Governor of Erbil also attended the first day of the conference and held RoundTable discussions with IBBC Member representatives.

Several UK Government officials participated, including Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne, The Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Iraq, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan and IBBC President, Jonathan Wilks CMG, Her Majesty’s Ambassador to the Republic of Iraq and Baroness Fairhead CBE, Minister of State for Trade and Export Promotion, Department for International Trade, which demonstrates the continuing trend of increased bilateral trade and relations over the last few years between the UK & Iraq.

(Source: IBBC)

AMAR Continues Support to Iraqi IDPs

For World Book Day 2018, the AMAR International Charitable Foundation has delivered over 6,000 illustrated children’s books to displaced children in Iraq, all specifically designed for IDP youth.

Hussein Al-Alak (pictured below), who is running the Manchester 10k on behalf of AMAR, said:

It’s the only charity in the United Kingdom that supports health, education and, more importantly, mental health programmes, in Iraq …

“You’ve got a lot of amazing causes [in the race] and it’s nice to be able to say: ‘This is what we’re doing at AMAR’.

You can help AMAR in its essential work in Iraq by donating here.

New American University to be at Water Palace

By John Lee.

Al Faw Palace has reportedly been selected as the location for the new American University of Iraq – Baghdad (AUIB).

The complex was originally built by Saddam Hussein, then used by the US-led coalition as a camp following the invasion.

The new university is scheduled to open in September 2018, and will house a College of Law, College of Medicine, College of Arts and Sciences, and College of Business.

More here from Rudaw.

Gender Mainstreaming in Iraq’s Elections

UNDP and UNAMI works with Iraqi High Elections Commission (IHEC) on gender mainstreaming in Iraq’s elections

20 participants from IHEC’s gender unit participated in the first of a series of capacity building activites planned to support IHEC in the period leading up to the upcoming elections.

The workshop, jointly organized by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and UNAMI, in cooperation with IHEC, aimed at enhancing the capacities of the gender team to promote greater political participation of women in elections both as candidates and as voters.

IHEC Chairperson Mr. Maan Al-Hitawi said:

“We believe that women are not only half of population but are the whole society, that is why the strategy of the Council of Commisioner is focusing on supporting the gender team as central part of IHEC structure”.

Speaking on behalf of UNAMI, DSRSG Ms. Alice Walpole opened the workshop and said:

Women’s political participation in Iraq is characterized by progress as well as setbacks. In terms of numerical representation at national and local governance levels, Iraq has some of the highest rates globally.

“The significant representation of women in Iraq’s Council of Representatives (CoR) is largely attributable to the use of a quota (25%), I welcome the recent formation of the IHEC Gender committee aimed at mainstreaming women’s participation throughout the several phases of the electoral process, devising tailor made interventions and promoting gender equality within IHEC’s internal structures, procedures and policies”

Speaking on behalf of UNDP, Country Director Mr.  Mounir Tabet said:

“The gender gap is one of the main issues that UNDP took into consideration in developing its support for the delivery of free, fair and transparent elections. We are aiming to fully support IHEC’s gender engagement strategy and to empower the role of women in elections as candidates, political activists, voters, CSO actors, throughout the electoral cycle”.

Facilitated by UNDP’s gender specialist, the workshop reviewed the electoral processes from a gender perspective, referring to the importance of building gender classified data and to learn from good practices of promoting women participation in electoral processes.

After the workshop, participants will hold a one-day meeting targeting gender units in line ministries in order to collaborate and coordinate efforts of raising awareness of women and men in the public sector and encouraging more active participation in the elections.

Additional workshops will be facilitated by UNDP and IHEC’s gender team at the national and provincial levels. These workshops will also suppot the gender unit to conduct a review of election materials from a gender perspective and to help the team establish a social media platform to promote greater participation of women in the upcoming elections.

UNDP and UNAMI are jontly planning to support IHEC’s gender team  activities In priority areas of gender mainstreaming the election process with focusing on encouraging active women participation in election and enhacing capacities of IHEC’s gender focal point in governorates to ensure gender mainstreaming in electoral process.

(Source: UNDP)

USAID Holds Co-Creation Workshop in Baghdad

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) concluded a two-day workshop in Baghdad with 33 organizations seeking to create and design activities together that will assist in the voluntary return of displaced Iraqis to the Ninewa Plain and western Ninewa, and to encourage those who are already in their communities to remain.

The workshop welcomed two senior advisers who attended on behalf of Vice President Mike Pence, further signaling the Administration’s strong commitment to finding innovative solutions to helping the return of displaced populations in Iraq and across the world.

“All Iraqi people suffered greatly during the cruel occupation by ISIS, and the United States is providing assistance to help displaced families return home, including to the Ninewa Plain and western Ninewa, two areas that exemplify Iraq’s unique cultural heritage and religious tolerance.

We look forward to reviewing the innovative proposals that come out of this workshop,” stated Ambassador Douglas Silliman (pictured).

With the liberation of ISIS-controlled territory, approximately 3.5 million Iraqis have already returned home, yet another 2.3 million remain internally displaced. Many of those are from smaller, more vulnerable ethnic and religious groups.

Communities in the Ninewa Plain and western Ninewa face unique and complex post-conflict challenges, and the factors that influence individuals to return to their homes and remain there need to be identified, assessed, and addressed.

USAID’s workshop provides an opportunity for organizations to create high-quality, effective, and efficient partnerships for research, development, and testing of innovative, practical, and cost-effective projects.

(Source: US Embassy)

Training Session for Bidders on UNDP e-Tendering

In continuing of training session conducted in April-May 2017 for the potential construction companies throughout Iraq, UNDP Country Office Iraq is planning to conduct another training session for the potential Construction Firms/Companies as per the following details:

  1. Training Session for Sinjar Bidders – 3 & 4 April 2018 – Baghdad
  2. Training Session for Baghdad & other areas – 5 April 2018 – Baghdad
  3. Training Session for Erbil & other areas– 9 & 10 April 2018 – Erbil

All registered bidders are kindly requested to send the following information to the UNDP focal point mentioned below latest by 31 March 2018. The requests received after due date and time will not be entertained.

  1. Name of the company;
  2. Name of Representative/s (Maximum of two person allowed to take part in the training session).
  3. Atlas E-Tendering registration number.

Interested firms/companies are kindly requested to provide the relevant information to UNDP Focal person Raghad Ali at email raghad.ali@undp.org.

The training venue for all the above trainings will only be communicated to the bidders who will provide the above information and are registered with the Atlas E-Tendering portal of UNDP.

(Source: UNDP)