This is the second 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. I think is one of the most meaningful people-centred projects running today that is already leading to lasting change.
In this episode, I speak to Jaafar Jotheri, Assistant Professor and Vice-Dean in the Faculty of Archaeology at the University of Al-Qadissiyah in Iraq. He is a geo-archaeologist by training and specialises in investigating ancient waterways particularly in southern Iraq. Jaafar is also one of the three co-directors of the Nahrein Network, which is a multi-million-pound project that fosters the sustainable development of history, cultural heritage and the humanities in Iraq and its neighbours in the Middle East.
For me, one of the key points in this episode is supporting and sharing. Jaafar works incredibly hard to support and share his vast knowledge and experience with his students, colleagues and the many, many others he works and collaborates with – locally in Iraq and internationally.
This leads onto something he said which has stayed with me. Jaafar’s analogy about some international teams treating archaeological sites as oil fields: some take the knowledge out but give nothing of this to the communities living in the area and don’t share the results with their Iraqi colleagues either. It is surely long past the time that people continue to work in this close-minded way and I think projects like the Nahrein Network give us a way forward.
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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