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Voices for Iraq foresees a New Era of Culture in Iraq

VFI-December 19,2018
On December 18, 2018, leading archeologist Abdelamir
al-Hamdani was confirmed as Iraq’s Minister of Culture.
Voices for Iraq congratulates the Iraqi Parliament for its
good judgment in this appointment. In addition to being a
active board member of Voices for Iraq, Dr. Abdelamir has
a distinguished career as an archeologist, museum
director, and innovative scholar.
Dr. Abdelamir headed Nasiriyah’s antiquities museum
in 2003 when American forces occupied the city. His
successful partnership with American troops and
archeologist Elizabeth Stone of Stoney Brook University
was critical in shielding the museum and the province’s
historical treasures from looters. American patrols around
Ur, Eridu, Larsa, and Uruk prevented desecration of the
sites and permitted return of looted artifacts to the
museum. Abdelamir also recruited the support of Ayatollah
Ali al-Sistani, who publicly condemned the pillaging and
pillagers. Risking his personal safety during the months
following the March invasion, Abdelamir camped out on a
cot in the museum to discourage nighttime marauders and
made trips into the desert to view the sites and direct
protecting forces.
Dr. al-Hamdani, who is fifty-one years old, has
taught archeology internationally in the US and UK as well

as Tunisia, Lebanon and his native Iraq. He received his
doctorate in anthropology from Stoney Brook University in
Dr. Abdelamir takes over a ministry with a vast
mandate and an overwhelming number of responsibilities,
perhaps the most important of which is restoration of the
destruction caused by ISIS. The world will be watching for
ministry leadership in the rebuilding of Mosul, the
restoration of Babylon, and the preservation of the sites in
Dhi Qar and Muthanna provinces. Besides antiquities and
museums, the new minister must also focus on promotion
of literature, the fine and folk arts, and film, not to mention
tourism and international outreach.
It goes without saying that we at Voices for Iraq are
proud of the honor and trust placed in our colleague by the
Iraqi government. He has faced past challenges with
resolution and competence. There could not be a better
person for the job. We are confident of his success and
are ready to help him whenever he calls on us.
Readers can access the Ministry’s website here.