Since 2015, experts from MCI and other Smithsonian units have worked together to develop the skills of Iraqi cultural heritage professionals and to build capacity of the larger Iraqi heritage sector. These efforts are made possible through a partnership with the Iraqi Institute for the Conservation of Antiquities and Heritage in Erbil. Founded in 2009 as part of the US State Department's Iraq Cultural Heritage Project, the Institute is an educational center where heritage professionals from across Iraq come to learn new skills and find the support they need to protect their cultural patrimony - part of our shared global cultural heritage. The Smithsonian's work with the Iraqi Institute has focused on a 'people-first' approach to building skills and international networks to stabilize and recover heritage in the wake of its intentional destruction by ISIS. This approach includes residential classroom courses for heritage professionals and short workshops for specific focus groups at the Iraqi Institute, and site-specific efforts like the Nimrud Rescue Project.

To learn more about MCI's capacity building work in Iraq, visit this page on SI Global, watch this video presentation by MCI's Head of Conservation Jessica S. Johnson, watch this video by MCI's Project Manager for International Cultural Heritage Protection Brian Michael Lione, watch this moderated discussion with them both, and listen to this podcast featuring Jessica S. Johnson.