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The Looting and Repatriation of Iraq’s Archives
A conversation with Saad Eskander and Sara Farhan

Friday, 2 June 2023, 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. Eastern Time (Canada and US)

In-person Meeting:
University of Toronto
15 King’s College Circle
University College Room 179
Speakers:Saad Eskander is a historian, scholar, and former Director General of the National Library and Archives of Iraq. He is currently serving as the Cultural Heritage Advisor to the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Antiquities & Technical Supervisor of the Iraq National Archive. In 2010, Dr. Eskander was elected as Iraq’s representative at the UNESCO Intergovernmental Committee for promoting the Return of Cultural Property to the Country of their Origins.

Sara Farhan holds a Ph.D. from York University’s Department of History and is an Assistant Professor in the Department of History at UNBC. Her research addresses the history of science, medicine, and technology in the modern Middle East focusing on knowledge production, professionalization, and the politics of archives, record keeping, and acquisition. 

Amongst the many devastating legacies of the US-led occupation of Iraq was the looting and displacement of the vast holdings of Iraq’s National Library and Archives which took place in the aftermath of the invasion. Saad Eskander served as the Director General of the National Library and Archives of Iraq from 2003 to 2015, where he led a laudable effort to keep the library open, preserve the surviving documents and fight to repatriate materials taken by the Americans in the wake of the occupation. Join us for a conversation with Dr. Eskander and Dr. Sara Farhan who will discuss the political, legal, and administrative challenges Iraqi archival practices have been encountering since 2003 and the ways in which Iraqi archivists, scholars, and cultural practitioners have addressed the contemporary realities of the region.