UNESCO Rallies Experts and Artists in France in Solidarity with Mosul, Iraq

UNESCO Rallies Experts and Artists in France in Solidarity with Mosul, Iraq

UNESCO mission rapid assessment, May 2018

Paris, 18 June – On 26 June, UNESCO, the United Nations University and the National Estate of Chambord (France) will host an international event at the château in solidarity with the communities of Mosul who are struggling to recover the Iraqi city’s social fabric and rebuild its iconic monuments, which were destroyed by ISIS.

Organized within the framework of the UNESCO-led project, Revive the Spirit of Mosul, the event will bring together experts, artists and journalists committed to the future of Mosul. Their contribution will help shape further UNESCO’s initiatives on the ground.

Audrey Azoulay, Director General of UNESCO, will open the Conference at 11 am along with Jean d’Haussonville, Director of the Château de Chambord, and David Malone, Rector of the United Nations University. Daniel Rondeau, French writer, former diplomat and Member of the Académie française, will also take the floor at the opening. Father Najib Mikhael Moussa, Archbishop of Mosul since 2018, will speak about his struggle to save ancient manuscripts from ISIS and highlight the key role played by local communities in the recovery of the city.

Other notable speakers at the event will include Dominique Charpin, Assyriologist of the Collège de France, Susana AbdulMajid, actress of Iraqi origin who performed in the theatre play Orestes in Mosul, and young people from the city who risked their lives to inform the world of events during the occupation. Ambassadors and Permanent Delegates to UNESCO will attend the meeting, as will young researchers and scholars in the fields of Mesopotamian studies, art history and political science, artists, writers, musicians and theatre actors, as well as young representatives of civil society.

This event seeks to draw on the spirit that underpinned the successful appeal of 1960 to save the ancient temples of Abu Simbel and other monuments of Upper Egypt, and subsequent UNESCO-led global safeguarding campaigns. Coinciding with celebrations of the 500th anniversary of the beginning of the construction of the Château de Chambord, the event will celebrate Mosul as the living symbol of Iraq’s historic diversity and present-day resilience, while denouncing the criminal hatred and violence of extremism.