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26. Leading Change: The Nahrein Network with Eleanor Robson

Welcome to a new Season of The Wonder House!

This is the first episode in a mini season focusing on the Nahrein Network, which is an incredible project that fosters the sustainable development of history, cultural heritage and the humanities in Iraq and its neighbours in the Middle East. 

To start things off, I’m speaking to Eleanor Robson, Professor of Ancient Middle Eastern History and Head of the Department of History at UCL. She was previously the Chair of the British Institute for the Study of Iraq and editor of the journal Iraq. I’ve known Eleanor for many years because I was fortunate enough to have her as my PhD supervisor - she was brilliant! - and it is such a pleasure to speak to her about her incredible work today.

The main focus is on the Nahrein Network which Eleanor leads. This is because I think is one of the most meaningful people-centred projects running today that is already leading to lasting change. In fact, I think it is so important and provides such a useful model for other projects that I have dedicated a mini series to the Nahrein Network and will be speaking to Jaafar Jotheri, Rozhen Mohammed-Amin, Mehiyar Kathem and Paul Collins over the coming weeks. I hope you will join us.

For me, one of the key points in this episode is empowerment through exceptional leadership. Too many of us think we know what is best for others and develop projects and behave accordingly. As Eleanor has shown through the Nahrein Network, truly extraordinary work and meaningful and lasting change begins when you create projects and structure them in such a way that they support and empower others.

Eleanor’s essay that I refer to in this episode is Old habits die hard: writing the excavation and dispersal history of Nimrud. It will change how you read histories of famous sites and objects. As you can tell, I think it is excellent and well worth reading.

Follow Eleanor on Twitter @Eleanor_Robson

You can follow The Nahrein Network on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook & YouTube

The Nahrein Network has supported the production of this series. The Network was funded by the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council and Global Challenges Research Fund until September 2021 and now by a generous philanthropic gift to UCL.

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